35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
In the interval between Jesus’ conversations with the woman, He had two lessons for the disciples:
(1) The timing for harvesting souls (4:35)
(2) Those who sow the seed for salvation and those who reap rejoice together (4:36)
There are two proverbs in verses 35-38.
35 Do you not say,
The disciples came from an agricultural culture. They came from the background that had a proverb about the timing of the harvest.
‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?
The grain is ready for the harvest months after sowing. There is a period of patience between sowing and reaping in farming.
The “harvest” is figurative for mission. The Samaritans were on their way to meet Jesus and they needed to accept Him as the Messiah.
The word “behold” calls attention to the urgency of the harvest.
I say to you,
Jesus made a statement to His disciples about the timing of the harvest. It was already harvest time.
lift up your eyes and look at the fields,
The disciples should alert themselves for the time to harvest souls for Christ. The Lord here challenged His disciples to reach those without Christ. They needed to see the opportunity before they could seize it. It takes vision to win the lost.
for they are already white [ripened] for harvest!
Jesus here referred to the Samaritans who were ready to be evangelized (Jn 4:39-42). The time to bring people to Christ was now. There was an opportunity to share Christ. The wait was over; the time to harvest was now.
The word “already” indicates that now was the time for evangelism of the Samaritans. There is urgency in winning people to Christ. “White” means the harvest is ripe; it is the time when people reach a point of positive volition toward the gospel.
The present time is crucial to the harvest of souls.
Christians have their marching orders and great opportunities. We are not at liberty to set our own priorities, because our Commander-in-Chief has issued them for us. Since we have our marching orders directly from the Lord Jesus, we are not at liberty to set our own priorities for life. Our Lord has issued directives for evangelism (Ac 1:8). This is the great interest that dominates the mind of Jesus (Jn 4:32).
Christians need to have a sense of urgency when it comes to evangelism. There are periods of opportunity where the moment to share Christ is significant. These are occasions where God works on hearts to be open to the gospel. Many times, Christians miss these opportunities to witness for Christ. If we look, we might see people with spiritual hunger. All of us have a proclivity toward earthly matters rather than eternal.
The crop of souls is ripe and ready for those who will harvest them. There are people in our lives who are ready to hear the gospel. We need to evaluate everything with respect to the harvest. We need to be alert to when the field ripens, to when a soul is open to the gospel.