This week, let's take a look at the story of the woman at the well in John 4 for our next lesson in how to unlock the power of your thinking. I am going to skip over Jesus' discussion with the woman and go directly to the aftermath when His disciples returned with lunch. From there, we read
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor" (John 4:27-38).
Let's take a closer look at this passage to see what we can learn.
When the disciples returned, they were in for a few surprises. The first was that Jesus was alone and speaking to a woman, a Samaritan woman no less—something rabbis had regularly taught should not be done with a Jewish woman. John reported decades later when he wrote his gospel, "For Jews do not associate with Samaritans" (John 4:9b). Notice the present tense in that the Jews still wanted nothing to do with Samaritans years after Jesus was no longer on the scene. That's how deep their hatred and disdain were for that race of people. Perhaps their surprise was also that this woman would be interested in anything Jesus had to say—or that she could even comprehend it.
Then the disciples were surprised that Jesus wasn't hungry. I would assume they went to get lunch because they were all hungry and in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, but there was Jesus, obviously enthused and no longer interested in the food they had purchased. By the way, I wonder where they were able to get food in the heart of Samaria that would meet their Jewish requirements? I would assume the Samaritans, who were part Jewish, kept kosher laws like they did but we don't know that for sure. Any way, they had run their errand but Jesus seemed not to be hungry. He said He had food to eat they didn't know anything about and that was to do the will of His Father.
A BIGGER SURPRISE
I have often taught that an indication of your life purpose is to be able to do something and forget what time it is even if it's time to eat. If you can play the piano and realize, "Oh my it's 3 p.m. and I missed lunch," then the piano has something to do with your purpose. Your purpose fulfills the statement that "man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3b). Jesus' purpose was to "seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10), so when He engaged this woman in His purpose, He was not as hungry as He had been when the disciples left. The same is true for you when you are in your purpose.
Yet, the disciples were in for an even bigger surprise, for their lunch break turned into a two-day revival:
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers (John 4:39-41).
Jesus and His entourage had left Judea after a heated exchange with the Pharisees and thought they were heading back to Galilee when an unexpected ministry opportunity opened for them in Samaria. Jesus had promised they would be fishers of men but they assumed it would be in their homeland, not in the territory of their enemies. As if they had not had enough surprises for one day, Jesus told them they were about to reap a harvest from the seed He had planted in the woman's heart when many came out to see Him for themselves. Those men who went to fetch lunch were suddenly helping pull in a catch of souls for the Kingdom.
That is the final point of this story. When you are in your purpose, God wants you to fulfill it more than you do. Just like Jesus did in this story, He goes ahead of you to prepare hearts and minds. You are harvesting purpose fruit for which you did not plant or water—Jesus did that on your behalf. He wants you to bear fruit in your purpose, so He will promote and stir up interest in others for your presence. All you have to do is show up and reap the rewards, just like these men did in Samaria.
What can you do and forget to eat lunch? Where does the joy of the Lord overpower your physical needs and give you energy to perform and produce? Where is it that when you show up, good things happen for and to you? Where do you get the sense you are enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor? That's due to nothing you have done; it's simply the harvest due to the seed Jesus has sown in the minds and hearts of your "audience." Just be prepared to constantly be surprised at what you can do in Him or rather what He will do for you (and where He will do it) that will bring you purpose success. Have a blessed week!