Daily Word

Other (spiritual) food | John 4:31-38

31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” 33 “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

John 4:31-38 (NLT)

Deeper and higher

While Jesus was talking with the Samaritan women, the disciples had gone into town to get food (verse 8) so naturally they asked if Jesus wanted some since all he had was water. (Weight loss technique – don’t have ready access to food). As we’ve seen before, Jesus has a pattern of taking conversations from the earthly to the heavily, from the material to spiritual. He goes deeper by going higher.

It is a wonderful teaching technique as well. He responds with the same topic (here, food) but with a twist that causes the listeners (here, the disciples) to wonder what He’s talking about. Hence, they are interested in learning. 

Other food

So what is this other food, this spiritual, heavenly food? It’s to do the will of God and “accomplish his work” (NASB, ESV). This gets right to the purpose of our lives – why are we here? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The spiritual food we need to live on is to do His work, His will; to obey Him.

Living in an agrarian society they understand reaping and sowing. Jesus uses this sowing analogy other times as well (e.g. Matt 13:3-8, 18-23). He is focused on the harvest, the harvest of souls to eternal life. That is, of course, why He came and died and rose again.

<- Reflection ->
  • Are you spiritually famished? How are you feeding your soul? Do His good work which He prepared in advance for you to do (Eph 2:10). How do you know the work to do? How do you get strength to do the work? Know Him through His Word. Trust Him. Obey Him.
  • Are you seeking to reap the harvest?
Grain ripe for harvest. Image from Pxfuel.com

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