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28. The woman then left her water-pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
29. Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
30. Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31. In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34. Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
The state of mind which is implied in these gracious words, is full of comfort and encouragement to ourselves.
It is when the heart is filled with deep anxiety, that there is no desire of food. When the eldest servant of Abraham's house was sent to the city of Nahor to seek a wife for Isaac among his father's kindred, he was taken into the house where Rebekah dwelt with her friends. (Gen. xxiv. 33.) "And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat until I have told my errand. So Samuel, when sent to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as the future king of Israel, when he missed David, the youngest, from the company, said to Jesse, (1 Sam. xvi. 11,) "Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he be come hither." It was the same in the present case. Jesus being wearied with his journey-(for he was bearing our weaknesses, and was subject to our infirmities,)—sat resting on the well. His disciples
went for food; and on their return, aware of his necessity, pressed him to eat. He, the mean while, had forgotten the exhaustion of nature, and had fed upon the divine work in which he was engaged. My meat and drink is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
But there is another encouragement arising out of this answer. The earnestness of the messenger depends, in part, on the earnestness of him whose message he conveys. The servant of Abraham was urgent, because Abraham was urgent. Samuel refused to be delayed, because God had sent him with a commission which required to be promptly executed. And so the eager anxiety of Jesus here, was to do the will and finish the work of his heavenly Father. What then was that will? The salvation of souls. And what that work? The making himself known as a Redeemer, the author of man's salvation. It is therefore the will of God, that no opportunity be lost of forwarding this work it is his will that "all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the truth." Can there be a stronger inducement, either to receive the word of God ourselves, or to communicate it to others? To communicate it, is to do the work which God would have done to receive it, is to conform to his will. He desires that man shall be happy in the knowledge of himself, and in the participation of his nature. And the Son of God rejoices in the prospect of imparting this happiness. He goes on to say,
35. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes,
and look on the fields; for they are white already to har
36. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
The husbandman rejoices in his mind, and feels his labour recompensed, when on looking towards the fields which he has tilled, he sees a just hope of future harvest. And so Jesus bids his disciples look towards the fields of Samaritan ignorance and superstition, and already perceive a promise, even before the expected time. The regular season was not yet he had not yet been "lifted up" upon the cross, that he might "draw all men after him.” And yet the fields were white already for the Samaritans had listened to the summons of the woman to whom he had revealed himself, and were now hastening to see him, who, as she affirmed, had told her all things that ever she did: is not this the Christ?
And this was an earnest of that harvest which the apostles should reap, and which should be to them "a crown of rejoicing" in the end. He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: He receiveth wages: for the master whom he serves," is not unrighteous to forget his work and labour of love and he gathereth fruit unto life
eternal: he shall both "save himself and those that hear him." "If the faithful reform his own
soul, that is fruit abounding to his account; it is fruit gathered to life eternal. And if, beyond this, he is instrumental in saving the souls of others too, there is more fruit gathered: souls gathered to Christ are fruit, good fruit, the fruit which Christ seeks for it is gathered for him, and it is gathered to life eternal."
In the part assigned them in this work of mercy the apostles were greatly honoured and greatly favoured. In their case was the saying made good, one soweth and another reapeth. The seed of that harvest which was to be reaped now, had been sown during many centuries. Moses had laboured in it, when he conducted the Israelites to the field in which it should grow, and when he planted the law in preparation for the gospel which should follow. David and Isaiah, and the other prophets had also laboured, and tended the springing blade ; who prophesied of the grace that should come. But to these it was never permitted to say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. To these it was not allowed to proclaim the glad tidings, how "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself:" how dispersing the long night of ignorance, he now commanded all men every where to repent," and "lay hold of everlasting life.” The gospel seed was sown, when that tradition was given to which the Samaritan woman alluded: I know that Messiah cometh which is called Christ. But
the harvest was to be reaped, when it could be said, I that speak unto thee am he. And the fruit would be gathered, when those of the Samaritans who believed, and continued stedfast, should receive the end of this faith, even eternal life.
For this, as we should carefully observę, is the end, the object of all. For this, God prepared the field. For this, the Spirit tilled the field. For this the prophets sowed. For this, Jesus went through his appointed labours. For this the
apostles at length put in their sickle; that immortal souls, that our immortal souls, might be a harvest to the glory of God, and repay the Redeemer's toil. How great must be the blessedness in store for souls thus gathered unto life eternal, and purchased at so high a cost! when both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, shall rejoice together, and no more blight or mildew, no more storm or tempest, shall endanger the harvest, now safely housed in the garner of the heavenly husbandman? All will then unite in the same chorus, and the strain will be, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be the praise." "For thou wert slain and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood." "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever.
2 Rev. v. 12; vii. 12.