John 4:31-42 (The Harvest)


What is wrong with this Picture:

A)Remember those handouts in elementary school? The teacher would pass out drawings with the question at the bottom, "What’s wrong with this picture?"


B)We’d look closely for something that didn’t fit. A barnyard scene with a piano near the water trough.

1)A classroom with a pirate seated on the back row.

2) An astronaut on the moon with a pay phone in the back-ground.


C)We’d ponder the picture and point to the piano or pirate or pay phone and say, "This doesn’t fit." Something is out of place. Something is absurd.

1) Pianos don’t go in barnyards. Pirates don’t sit in classrooms.

2) Pay phones aren’t found on the moon.


Well in John Ch.4 We have a picture that at first glance to the casual observer – We have a picture that doesn’t fit.

A)Consider the evolving Picture: Frame 1


B) A Jewish man sitting by a well during the hottest part of the day.

1) Sixth Hour – People didn’t go to the well at that time.


C) Frame 2 Jewish man sitting next to a well in Samaria

1) Jews avoided Samaria – like the Plague


D) Frame 3 A Jewish Rabbi – Talking to a woman at that well

1) Jewish men especially rabbis didn’t talk to women in Public


E) Frame 4 A Jewish Rabbi talking to a Samaritan at that well at the hottest part of the day.

1) Jewish Men didn’t talk to women in public especially a Samaritan woman with a shady Past



But you see this is no ordinary Jewish man – this is Jesus – the word made flesh – The God man - 

A)The one who announced in Luke 19:10 I have come to seek and to save the lost { John declared we beheld his glory…..full of grace & truth.


B) The one who doesn’t see color or race / doesn’t see Gender man or woman

1) Doesn’t see social or economic status – He simply sees – souls – Lost or found – Saved or redeemed


C)Well what is Jesus doing in Samaria – Jews avoided – He announced in v.4 He needed to go through there.

1) Divine appointment – Lost soul – Lost heart


D) Samaritan woman with a past – Jesus ministers to her – while the disciples go into town for food.

1) Jesus reveals her past – Jesus gives her hope for the Future by revealing that he is the messiah


She leaves and heads into town – Amazed –at this encounter ! Her life forever Changed. She goes into the city to tell others

A)Disciples come with food – Jesus is no longer hungry. I have food that you don’t know about … My food is to do …. And to finish his work.


B) Jesus was declaring that when engaged in the work of touching hearts & reaching out to lost souls

1) It sustained him and satisfied him in a way that Physical food could not.


C) His food is found in engaging in the harvest – reaching out to lost souls!


The Whole Chapter is about the Harvest: 4 Scenes / 4 principles for effective evangelism. 

1)Scene one: The power of personal evangelism: Jesus and the woman at the well.


A)We have noted already that Jesus went out of his way to go there!


B) He went against the social norms of the day by talking to a woman.

1) Broke the ice give me a drink – neutral

C) He pinpointed her need – she was thirsty spiritually.

1) That is why she had 5 failed marriages –


D) Jesus presented her with the answer – Come to me – take of the water that I have to give{ Never thirst again.


Scene two: The Power of a personal testimony: V.28-30

“The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.”



And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did."


It has been said that effective evangelism requires a relationship: Most impacting when someone’s life is changed shares with a friend / family

A)Barna research group did a survey of Church congregations a while back to determine how people came to Christ


B) The results were interesting:

1% 12 Step program: 1% went thru a program…

2% Birth of a Child { Miracle of Child birth – having kids

3% Independently reading the Bible { Holy Spirit convicted

3% Watching a Christian TV program.

4% Christian witnessing tract.

5% An evangelistic event. { ie Crusade or outreach

6% Healed of a physical problem.

10% A friend shared the gospel with them.

14% Brought to Church by a friend and responded to the sermon.

14% Raised in a Christian home.

24% Spiritual conversation with a family member.


C) Note from that list the highest percentages came from the impact of someone they knew

1) There was a noticeable change in this woman –


2) Others where impacted by the change in her life – V.29 Many believed because of her testimony.


D) Share your testimonies: Share what the Lord is doing in your life.

1) Effective evangelism happens when we just share with people what God has done – what he is doing


E) Treat them in one sense like they are already believers – This is what God is doing. This is how he is working –

1) They will sense there is something happening in that person’s life that is not happening in mine.


Scene 3 The Power of the word shared in the congregational setting: 40-42

“So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."


V. 41 Many more believed because of His own word.

A)They came to hear Jesus themselves and were impacted by the word.


B) You bring someone to Church and the word impacts them: God’s word does not return void – there is power in the Word.

1) it impacts / it touches lives


C) If you can get them here – God will use his word to reach them.


Scene4 The power of a miracle in evangelism: Look at this closer on Wed. but the Chapter ends with a miracle that produces faith


A)A certain nobleman who’s son was sick – v52 tells us when he found out that his son was healed – he and his household believed.


B) Encouraging Chapter – because it reveals to us the various ways that the Lord works in reaching the lost.


C) But the thing that is the common thread in each one of these scenes is the personal contact –

1) The woman impacted by Jesus


2) The woman who impacts her town with her testimony


3) The people who come to hear for themselves


4) The man who responds to the words of Jesus


D) The common thread in each scene of harvest is a readiness in the hearts of the people and a personal encounter with the truth.


This is the thing that Jesus wants his disciples to realize – the Harvest is ready:The question is are we?

A)Finish today by briefly considering 4 principles for effective evangelism


#1 The time for the harvest is now! – v.35 Jesus said – Don’t say 4 months then comes the harvest.

A)The time between planting and harvesting was usually about 6 months


B) This would indicate that the seed had been planted in those wheat fields 2 months prior to this. –    

      Leaving 4 months until harvest time


Bb)The natural tendency of the farmer was to wait and to prepare for the harvest to grow.


C) Jesus is saying to his disciples – Don’t have that mindset about the spiritual harvest – the harvest of souls

1) It is always ready – There are always people around us that need Jesus


D) Your Sphere of influence! – Ripe Harvest around you.

1) Not a believer today – Today is the day.



#2 The need for a Burden: “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

A)Lift your eyes – take notice –


B) A way to develop a burden is to  Remember what like before knew Lord 


3 characteristics mark people's lives without Christ

A) #1 Emptiness!  no matter how much money, success, power - void!


The spiritual poverty of the Western world is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You in the West have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness.

Mother Teresa

B.) I think Billy Graham described the emptiness that those living in the U.S. experience, he saidAmerica is said to have the highest per capita boredom of any spot on earth! We know that because we have the greatest number of artificial amusements of any country. People have become so empty that they can't even entertain themselves. They have to pay other people to amuse them, to make them laugh, to try to make them feel warm and happy and comfortable for a few minutes, to try to lose that awful, frightening, hollow feeling; that terrible, dreaded feeling of being lost and alone.”

                                                      Billy Graham


C) Billy was so right our society is empty bored !

1) Even those who accomplish the “American dream feel it.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Brad Pitt


Pitt: Man, I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us—the car, the condo, our version of success—but if that's the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness? If you ask me, I say toss all this—we got to find something else. Because all I know is that at this point in time, we are heading for a dead end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the spiritual being. And I don't want that.



Rolling Stone: So if we're heading toward this kind of existential dead end in society, what do you think should happen?


Pitt: Hey, man, I don't have those answers yet. The emphasis now is on success and personal gain. [smiles] I'm sitting in it, and I'm telling you, that's not it. I'm the guy who's got everything. I know. But I'm telling you, once you've got everything, then you're just left with yourself. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it doesn't help you sleep any better, and you don't wake up any better because of it.


Football Star Tom Brady on 60 minutes:

Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, is not only one of the NFL's best players, he is also one of the NFL's best stories.


At the tender age of 28, he has already won three Super Bowls, an accomplishment that ranks him with some of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game.


But with all of Brady's fame and career accomplishments, he told 60 Minutes: "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, 'Hey man, this is what is. I reached my goal, my dream, but I think, it's got to be more than this. I mean this can't be, what it's all cracked up to be."


"What's the answer?" asked interviewer Steve Kroft.

"I wish I knew," Brady replied. "I wish I knew."

It doesn’t matter what the accomplishment and the success – Still and Emptiness – void.

A)The World is hurting


B) Emptiness / only Christ fill / hurt -Only  Christ can  heal!


C.)Perhaps here - don't know Christ - He wants to fill the emptiness


2nd thing people who don’t know Jesus  live with a sense of guilt!

A.) Head of a mental institution "release 1/2 my patients if I could find a way to  rid them of their guilt"


B.)As Christians we know guilt is a symptom of a deeper problem called sin.

1) People feel guilt because they are guilty / missed the mark !


C) They can’t do anything to get rid of those feelings !


D) Only Jesus can get to the root of the problem and forgive them their sins

          1.)Plagued by guilt today?  Jesus can set free






3rd  thing ……   There is a universal fear of death

A.)People fear death - unknown what happens after they die!


B)Eats at them - Ignore it - put out of mind and live for moment - daily  confronted in news


B.) For the person who knows Jesus - death is not a fearful thing  because he knows  where he is going /


C) Heaven! - death is the beginning!

1)  Here today and you don’t know Jesus death is a thing to be afraid of because uncertain / what happens to me !


C) But you can leave here today certain of where going / and where you will spend eternity by giving your heart over to Jesus!


But the important thing I want you who know the Lord to understand is that the person you work w/ the person you live by

A) The person that Christ has put upon your heart to reach out to is dealing w/ one or all of these 3 things ! Empty / guilty / afraid of death ! ( Its a given)


B) Realizing that is where people are at helps to increase our sense of burden !


#1 Time for harvest is now.

#2 Burden for the lost.

#3 Remember that Sowing and reaping are equally important: V.36-38

36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  37 For in this the saying is true:'One sows and another reaps.'  38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors." 


A)Sowing and reaping go together. Some of you are sowers – You share the gospel – often – but don’t see many results –


B) Listen don’t be discouraged by that: realize the Word of the Lord doesn’t return void – Someone else might come along and reap

1)    But that will be a part of your reward


C) Jesus says I sent you to reap in fields where you have not labored .



#4 The need to be baptized in the Spirit:

A)Although Jesus was teaching his disciples here about the need to see the Harvest and Have a burden for the lost / Urgency of the moment


B) But their effectiveness in winning the lost didn’t really start until after Rez in Acts 2 -  HS Fell


Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 


With / In / Upon { Reoccurring – need to be witnesses!