The Fields Are White for Harvest


Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35).

Jesus said these words to His disciples as they were in Samaria. He had just spoken to a Samaritan woman at the well outside the city. She returned and told the men of the city about Jesus and they were now coming out to see Him. He said the fields were white for harvest, meaning there was success to be had in preaching the gospel in that place.

As we are still working to preach the gospel today, let us consider Jesus’ statement and the circumstances surrounding it.

What Did Jesus See?

What did Jesus see that caused Him to say that the fields were white for harvest? First, he saw people who were lost. Jesus desired that the lost would be saved (cf. Matthew 23:37; Luke 15:1-7). His mission in coming to earth was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Here He found a woman who was living in adultery and caught up in false religion (John 4:17-18, 20). The false religion was found among her fellow countrymen as well. These people were lost in sin. They needed a Savior.

Jesus also saw people who were interested. This is very important. After Jesus struck up the conversation with the Samaritan woman, she expressed her interest by asking Jesus for the water He said He could provide (John 4:15) and by questioning Him about proper worship practices (John 4:19-20). The people of the city came out to the well to hear Jesus because they were interested in what He had to say (John 4:30). It was at this point when Jesus made this statement: “The fields…are white for harvest” (John 4:35).

What Did the People Need?

The fields were white for harvest in Samaria. But just like crops in the field cannot harvest themselves, someone else had to labor for the harvest to happen. So the first thing they needed was a willing teacher. Historically, the Jews and Samaritans did not have friendly relations with one another. The woman Jesus met at the well was surprised that He even spoke to her: “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” John added the parenthetical statement to explain this: “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9). Jesus was willing to teach people, regardless of their background. This should not be surprising since He also died for all people, regardless of their background (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:13, 16).

It was important that these people had someone willing to teach them, but this would not do any good without the proper message from the teacher. Jesus had a different message from all others. The message from the Samaritans was that they were to worship on the mountain; the Jews’ message was that one must go to Jerusalem to worship (John 4:20). Jesus preached a different message: “Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem…” (John 4:21). She needed His message. He was the one with the “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Jesus taught the gospel. That is what this woman – and everyone else – needed.

Are the Fields White for Harvest Today?

If Jesus were here today, would He be telling us to “look on the fields, that they are white for harvest”? It is certainly true that people are lost now just as they were then. This will be true as long as the earth stands. Paul wrote, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This condition still exists today.

Are people interested in Christ? That is another matter. It may depend on where you are. In some places, there may be a great interest in spiritual things. But that will not be the case everywhere. Some people simply do not want to hear the truth. We cannot force people to accept Christ. So when we encounter people who are not interested, we should move on. In these instances, the disciples were told, “Shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14; cf. Acts 13:50-51).

However, it is important to note that the disciples shook the dust off their feet and moved on after the gospel had been preached. They did not decide that the people would probably not be receptive and so they should just move on without teaching them. Instead, they gave the people the chance to hear the gospel and reject it for themselves. We cannot always know people’s hearts. So we must plant the seed wherever possible. Give them the chance to reject the message, do not reject it for them. In giving them the chance to reject the message, we are also giving them the chance to accept it which leads to salvation. So we should understand that it is likely for most people to be uninterested in the gospel. But that does not mean we should give up in efforts to reach the lost.

What Do People Need Today?

Just as the people of Samaria needed a willing teacher, people today need willing teachers as well. After telling the Romans that “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13), Paul went on to discuss the importance of those who preach the gospel: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things’” (Romans 10:14-15). The lost need to be taught. It is important to have men who have dedicated their lives to this work to do it.

However, it is not only the responsibility of the preacher to teach others. All Christians must be ready to teach when opportunities arise (1 Peter 3:15). Furthermore, just as God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35), we must not either (James 2:1-9). We should be willing to teach others regardless of their race, gender, class, background, or any other factor.

Not only is it important to have willing teachers, but those teachers must have the right message. Like Jesus did, we must simply preach the gospel. This is the message that people need to hear (Romans 1:16). We cannot change or add to the message based upon the whims of the people, nor do we do them any favors by doing this. We are obligated to please God first. Paul said, “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Instead of relying upon the schemes that many use to try and bring others to Christ, we must simply use the method that Jesus and the apostles used – preaching the gospel. Instead of changing the message, adding to it, or taking parts out of it, we should trust in God and the word that He revealed. The gospel, in its entirety and simplicity, is still today “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16).

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  1. I was blown away by the message .. The fields are white for harvest.. Well introduction,explain it to where a child can understand it.. Thank you for making it plain.. Just give me the Word… is what I like.. Thank you for the remarks at the end, where you said don’t add or flavor the word for people to come to Christ.. But just let the Word speak for it self and God will do the rest.. He said if he be lifted up, he draws all men unto himself .. I agree with message 100 % percent ..AWESOME


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