Continuing the same scene from our previous lesson, the Twelve came back out to Jacob’s Well while Jesus was still speaking with the woman. While they wondered about this highly unlikely scene, they kept their silence. She left her water pot and hurried back off into the town.
Her testimony was that the man she met at the well knew her life story without having met her before, nor apparently had He even traveled in Samaria before. Yet He knew all about her, so doesn’t that approximate what they were expecting from the Messiah? These people knew this woman had a history, and she wasn’t particularly religious by their standards. Yet her testimony on this encounter was quite moving, so they started heading out to see this man.
In those days, it was common for a well to have at least one large stonework trough of some sort and likely some benches or some kind of fixture where people could gather and sit. Further, it likely had at least some shade provided by trees. This is why Jesus had stopped to rest here in the first place. When the disciples returned, they would have occupied some of the available seating while they shared the food they had bought. We can imagine the disciples mostly had their backs to the town and were encouraging Jesus to eat with them. But Jesus was watching behind them at this crowd coming out of the city and decided now was not the time for a meal. So He told them He had food they couldn’t see. While it was a figure of speech, it had a literal element.
The disciples asked each other if someone had already fed Him lunch. I’m sure Jesus chuckled at that, but continued in the same mysterious vein. His real food was to obey the Father who sent Him, and right now He had a mission to complete. Then He went on mentioning how this time of year the wheat was still green, with another four months before it would ripen, and then dry and turn pale brown, almost white. Behind them the folks coming out the city were crossing the green fields, but wearing the off-white garments common to Samaritan men in those days. Jesus pointed out across the field and told them to look and see the white harvest.
Jesus had planted the seed of truth in that Samaritan woman. While something like that might typically take awhile to bear fruit, today it was bearing a multitude of fruit immediately. At this point, the disciples would have turned to see the approaching crowd and knew it was another time of ministry. They hadn’t dealt with Samaritans like this before, but the language and customs were close enough they already knew what to do. They likely hurried to put away the food they were eating and got ready to work.
Jesus then noted how they were about to harvest a crop they didn’t sow, as it were. This was not uncommon in agricultural work in those days. One man might sow the seed, but when harvest time came, it always required a herd of casual laborers working dawn to dark to get it all reaped during the brief window when it must be done. His disciples were entering into His ministry and would reap the harvest and enjoy the blessings.
So on the basis of that woman’s meaningful testimony, the leading men of the city came out and invited Jesus to stay at their expense. He did so for a couple of days with His usual teaching and miracles. When He felt it was time to move on, the men of the city noted to the woman that it was no longer a matter of her testimony, but they had seen and heard for themselves. For once she had not embarrassed them, but had done them a favor in prodding them to meet the Messiah.
His reception at Sychar had none of the complications He faced when He finally got back home to Galilee.