The Gospel of John – Lesson 9 – John 4:27-42

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised that he was talking to a woman. Yet no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking to her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back into town. She said to the people, 29 “Come, see the man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 They left the town and came to him. 31 Meanwhile, the disciples kept urging him, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But Jesus said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 Then the disciples said to each other, “Did anyone bring him something to eat?” 34 Jesus told them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four more months and the harvest will be here’? Pay attention to what I am telling you. Open your eyes and look at the fields, because they are already ripe for harvest. 36 The reaper is getting paid and is gathering grain for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. 37 Indeed in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap a harvest for which you did no hard work. Others have done the hard work, and you have benefitted from their labor.” 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony: “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them. And he stayed there two days. 41 Many more believed because of his message. 42 They told the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said. Now we have heard for ourselves. And we know that this really is the Savior of the world.”

Has this ever happened to you? Your supervisor at work assigns you to take on extra work to complete a big project. You spend lots of extra hours getting everything done. Because of your efforts the project is a big success. But then the company president gives all the credit to your supervisor for a job well done. Your name never even gets mentioned. It seems so unfair. You did all the work and someone else got all the credit. Why should you try your best on future projects if someone else is going to get all the attention for work you did?

In the last section of John’s Gospel, Jesus met with a woman at the well outside the town of Sychar. Through Jesus’ testimony the woman believed that Jesus is the promised Savior of the world. The woman couldn’t keep the good news to herself. She went back into town and told everyone about what Jesus told her. The people wanted to know more. According to John, the people came out to hear more about Jesus. They invited him to stay for two days. By the end of that time they also believed that Jesus is the true Savior of the world.

During those two days Jesus’ disciples probably had many opportunities to tell what they had already learned about Jesus. They didn’t need to worry that someone was going to slam the door in their face or tell them what a foolish message they were sharing. The people of Sychar wanted to learn more about Jesus. Jesus had done the hard work through his testimony to the woman. The disciples had the opportunity to share in the harvest of souls made ready for the Kingdom of God.

Our Lord has given all of us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. “Therefore go and gather disciples from all nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and by teaching them to keep all the instructions I have given you. And surely I am with you always until the end of the age.” Sometimes we will have the opportunity to share Jesus with someone who has never heard the good news of our Savior before. We may not always see the fruits of our labor. Someone else may later share the good news again that will finally lead that person to faith. Other times we may be the person who builds on someone else’s work of leading an unbeliever to know Jesus. As Christians, we shouldn’t be jealous that someone else got the credit for work we did. When we don’t see the results of the work we did in Jesus’ name, we can still rejoice that God has promised his Word never returns to him empty. It always accomplishes the purpose he sent it to achieve. (Isaiah 55:11) We ought to thank our Lord for the privilege to share in the work of making disciples of all nations.

Discussion Questions

1 – In verse 32 Jesus told his disciples he already had food to eat. What food was he talking about?
Jesus’ food was to do the will of his heavenly Father and complete the work he was sent to do. (See verse 34.)

2 – How does the food Jesus spoke of also provide us with spiritual refreshment?
Jesus’ food also becomes the food of his disciples. We desire to reach lost souls with the good news of Jesus Christ. God’s people find great joy to sharing in the work of our Lord. The more we share the good news of Jesus, the more our own faith in Jesus is also strengthened.

3 – What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples in verse 38 “I sent you to reap a harvest for which you did no hard work?”
Jesus had already done the hard work of sharing his message with the Samaritan woman. She had gone back to town and shared what she had heard with others. May people from Sychar now came to hear more about Jesus. This would give the disciples an audience to share the good news of what Jesus had done in their lives. The process continues today. Sometimes we will have the chance to sow the seed of the Gospel. Other times we will have the chance to bring in the harvest of souls won through continual sharing of the Gospel.

4 – What were the results of Jesus’ testimony to the Samaritan woman and her testimony to the people of her hometown?
Jesus’ testimony led the woman to believe she had found the promised Messiah. Her testimony led the people to come to Jesus so they could learn more from him. After two days of testimony from Jesus they were fully convinced he was their Savior.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to