Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:27-42
Something happens late in the winter, late in February. I get very itchy to think about planting, looking at seed catalogs and websites. In this new place, it is hard to know what can be planted and what will grow. The summer does not get very warm, and although we have long hours of sun during the summer, we have even more cloud cover. The itch is there, no matter where I am, to get my hands dirty in the earth, to turn over the garden and tend the little seeds that get planted.
Jesus was talking with his disciples who were very confused. They had come across him in conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. They didn't know how to talk to him about that so they talked to him about food and eating. And in response Jesus talked to them about planting, sowing and the harvest. He wanted them to understand that we all have a part to play in God's garden of healing, but that we are not the only ones, and the garden is on-going and eternal. We can only do what we have been given to do. Some of us will reap what others sowed, some will plant and tend, and yet others will watch and pray while the severe winter sets in. God is the ultimate gardener and invites us to see the big picture of our reliance on one another and our complete need of God.
Today, I ask God to help me simply do my part, and to discern which role that is in every moment. May we all be participants in the Creator's garden, willing to labor for love to grow. May we rejoice at being temporary hires, migrant and itinerant workers, knowing that we labor in an eternal garden, fed by love, healing and forgiveness.