The Lord Jesus instructs His disciples in the matter of sowing and reaping (ook in Afrikaans vertaal)

Ds W den Hollander (Kanada)
Johannes 4 : 31-38
Preek Inhoud: 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ


     The Lord Jesus was talking to a woman; a Samaritan woman at that. In the eyes of the descendants of Abraham, the Samaritans were an inferior tribe of people. Religiously speaking they were ‘bastards,’ a mixture of the left-over Ephraimites, who stayed behind when their people went into the Assyrian exile [+ 722 BC], and of immigrant Assyrian colonists who had moved to Canaan at that same time. Spiritually speaking their worship, their worship of God was counterfeit, a false church so to speak: they lived by a reduced Bible (the Law of Moses only!), worshipped at their own place (Mt. Gerizim instead of Jerusalem). Besides, morally speaking, this woman to whom the Lord Jesus is speaking, is even one of the worse one: her marriage history was a mess, a whole slue of men had her as their wife; right now she’s living common law. This background of deformation and apostasy may have been obvious in her case yet too... Still, the Lord Jesus was talking to her!

     Indeed, the Lord Jesus did, beloved, for He seeks that which is driven away, those who are lost (not just this woman, but also the other Samaritans who would come later, vs. 39-42). We read that the Lord Jesus stays here for two days to work here, ... and many believed! They listened to Him and believed that He was the Saviour, the promised Messiah. That’s the triumph of the gospel of the Son of God... for Samaritans! While in ch. 2:23, 24 we can read that the Lord Jesus did not entrust Himself to the children of Israel, because He knew that their motives were no good, their expectations were not pure, here they believed in Him as the Messiah! Here already the Sovereignty of God reveals itself! As Paul will show later on: Israel’s stumbling is salvation to the Gentiles. But now we have to see that the Lord Jesus shows this to His disciples! They have to know this; the whole episode is a lesson to them! Otherwise they would think His mission to be a failure! His Kingdom will come in places where they would not expect it; in ways they would not have thought of!! That’s the message for His disciples, and for His Church today (!), to whom this Word of God is coming as follows:

The Lord Jesus instructs His disciples in the matter of sowing and reaping

1. the occasion of His lesson;

2. the contents of His lesson;

3. the message of His lesson.

1. The occasion of His lesson

      From our text it is clear, brothers and sisters, that the Lord Jesus wants to come to the message: “One sows and another reaps.” However, the occasion at which He comes with that instruction is this talk with this Samaritan woman. At the moment when the Lord Jesus begins His instruction to the disciples, He just finished His conversation with the woman. She had just left because of her conclusion to their conversation, viz. the discovery that Jesus could well be the Messiah. She had expressed that too, to which the Lord had answered: “I who speak to you am He!” Nowhere did the Lord Jesus say so clearly and explicitly that He is the Messiah as at this occasion! To the woman this discovery was so overwhelming that she left everything and returned to the city. In her great rush to share her discovery, she had left her water jar behind. This moment is so great, she has to tell others!

     It is at that moment that the disciples return! Then another story within the story occurs. It seems like an interruption of the flow of the story...; however, it turns out to be the very purpose of the whole episode! It all happened for the instruction of the disciples. These disciples had been away to get some food in the city nearby. They probably heard the last bits of the conversation. “Just then His disciples came,” we read in vs. 27. “Just then...,” not earlier, so that the conversation with the woman would have been interrupted; not later, so that the disciples would have missed this great event! The Providence of the Father shines gloriously here!

     “They marveled,” we read then, “that He was talking with a woman!” And then a Samaritan woman yet too (“for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans,” the evangelist John writes in vs. 9). Yet, they don’t express their amazement. They only show their sentiments in their attitude. Their Master has to understand that they should be out of there as quickly as possible. The Lord Jesus had His rest. They got Him something to eat... So if He now would eat right away, they could leave in a minute! At least, that’s what their urgings about His eating imply! They repeatedly urged Him, “Rabbi eat!” (the verb denotes). For when He has eaten they can go! They wanted to go! They didn’t feel at ease in this region of Samaritans, neither are they comfortable with the way the Lord Jesus associates with the people here.

     The Lord Jesus, however, brothers and sisters, looks at this situation differently! He’s not finished here yet! He said to them: “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” At first, the disciples didn’t understand this saying. Taking it literally, they assumed that it pertains to their suggestion of eating, and thought that someone has given Him food already. That would only complicate the problem. Imagine that He had eaten with this unclean Samaritan, this member of the false church so to speak. That would not help His position among His own people at all! But, that’s not what He means: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work!” In other words, that which gives strength and satisfaction to me, like food does in a way, and in which my soul delights, is to do the will of my Sender!

     My Father determines my agenda, He’s saying. His work program, His program of salvation it is to save lives of those who are bound for death through sin! The Lord Jesus came to work, and with His Father this has always been the rule: He who works will eat! However, then the first concern is His service to the Father! He wants to be instrument of His Sender, a good instrument wherever He sends Him! And that’s what He was, also here, among the Samaritans. If it is the Father’s will to give Him an opening here..., His will be done!! That’s what He lives for! “I came to do Thy will, o my LORD!” [Ps. 40:8, 9] That’s what He does, and the Father will give Him the strength for it, just like food and drink do that to you!

     This is what the disciples had to learn in the first place, beloved. That was not easy! The disciples would need more instruction yet, but this was the first occasion showing them that their Master had come for more than the Jews. He was seeking everyone who is lost. He came to save the world; for God so loved the world! That’s what this occasion reveals to them. This lesson does not right away drive home the point. Repetition was required with them too; as it is said “repetition is the mother of all learning.” Peter, for instance, had to learn the same lesson in Joppe, on that rooftop where he saw those sheets descend from heaven, and later on again, when he had to be told the same thing by Paul in Antioch! For, there too, he became an obstacle in the way of the gospel which was for Jews and Greeks alike!

     But we too, beloved, must be willing to learn the same lesson. The gospel must go out, not only to the Gentiles far away but also to our neighbour. And is it no so that especially in the latter case we are so used to our established position. We have our place in the neighbourhood; our neighbours have theirs. We know each other’s positions; we have our prejudices and biases. But the bottom line quite often is that we don’t consider our neighbours worth of our outreach anymore. They’re Samaritan to us! Then we are basically of the same frame of mind which the disciples display. We, also, have much concern about the food and drink it takes to keep up our lives. But let’s then be reminded of the true priorities in our life: our food it is first and foremost to pursue God’s will, to seek His Kingdom, also in matters of outreach. The Lord Jesus shows very clearly that this lies heavier on His heart than the concerns for daily food. The big question is therefore: what’s most important to us...; can we forget the food and drink for a while, because the concerns for the Kingdom are more pressing at some times [cf. Mt. 16:5]?!

     Then we should also learn from the Lord Jesus’ approach, beloved, that especially that casual talk, that incidental occasion, could lead to such wonderful results, when unexpectedly an open door is given. It is especially by the witness we give to those who can see so well that with us words and deeds  are one that our testimony becomes so powerful. Don’t forget, beloved, also in that way the course of the gospel in this world continues: abroad and at home! Without any prejudice! .... Useless? No results? Well, let’s then learn from:

2. The contents of the lesson of the Lord about sowing and reaping.

     In His approach to the instruction, brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus used the method of contrast. He does that more often, e.g. in the Sermon on the Mount. Then we hear Him say as well: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old ... but I say to you...” Then follows what point He wants to make powerfully, persuasively. The same He does here in our text: “Do you not say, ‘there are yet four months, then comes the harvest ...; well I tell you, ‘lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already white for harvest.” Again, beloved, the disciples’ first impulse was to take it literally, as they did with the food. And indeed, that may only confirm them that as far as the harvest of that crop as they see it on the fields around them is concerned, four months will be necessary still. But they soon learn that this is not what they need to see. The Lord Jesus continues His lesson by speaking about the sowing and reaping part of it in a different manner! He was speaking about the harvest of eternal life! For that harvest He had come! The rules for that crop are different, also the experiences of sowers and reapers.

     This is what they come to realize when they see among the visible fields people come toward them, Samaritans who had been attracted upon the testimony of this woman. These are people who are hungry for words of eternal life. The Lord Jesus knew that this harvest was awaiting Him here, for the Father had revealed this to Him: here many will believe in Him! No, not just on account of the woman’s story, which may have made them curious perhaps, but they will believe because they hear the gospel from the Son Himself! They will be coming to a testimony for which the people of the Lord aren’t ready yet: “We know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” [vs. 42] The seed sown in Judea falls on a rocky-hard ground, while here the sowing and reaping takes place right after each other! “He who reaps,” the Lord Jesus adds then, “receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.”

     We have to admit, brothers and sisters, that the Lord’s words are not very clear at first hearing. Whom does He mean with sower and reaper? If the expression applies to this very moment, we must observe that sower and reaper are the same, for it is the Lord Jesus Himself who sowed here and who receives an instant harvest. Some commentators feel that the Lord Jesus alludes here to the work of John the Baptizer. But nowhere do we read of John’s former activities among the Samaritans. However, the text itself holds the key much more clearly, where the Lord Jesus introduces His own explanation by the use of the word “for:” for here the saying holds true, “One sows and another reaps.” The Lord Jesus has pointed at the harvest for eternal life which is approaching and which means work for the disciples in the next hours and days: Look up, reaping men! The disciples were eager and ready to get away as fast as possible, but the Lord Jesus characterizes the work which He has been doing, viz. ‘sowing,’ with as result that now it is their task to reap! And He gives them the incentive for that task in the wages that await them, and the joy that will be their share, joy for and with the Sower!!

     The disciples have to learn that they are called as labourers in the field of God and the field is the world. In that work it may be that the time between sowing and reaping is long, very long (e.g. Israel), while at other places an instant harvest seems to be apparent. But then all workers in the Kingdom of God have to keep their eyes on the ultimate purpose of sowing and reaping: fruits for eternal life! You see, brothers and sisters, then it may happen that at times the office bearers sigh when all their efforts, all their teaching, instructions, admonitions may not seem fruitful, while they read in mission news reports of places in Brazil or Timor where groups of people seem to be turning to the Lord. Then the Lord Jesus gives an incentive to workers there and here, viz. the prospect that the work will be rewarded, and that the ultimate purpose is the harvest for eternal life! That will bring back the joy!

     Don’t look at the results at home only, also keep in mind the harvest elsewhere, so that sowers and reapers together may rejoice! God is Sovereign! The plan of the Kingdom is His! He works it as He wills. He determines where the fruits will be, today or tomorrow or years from now perhaps. But the joy should be there over the fruits for eternal life! The one sows, the other reaps, and the end result? An innumerable crowd! Amazing! That joy keeps you going, even when the fruits are disappointing locally or when it takes much time there for the fruits to ripen. For, beloved, if we don’t rejoice any longer when we see the work of God’s kingdom increase world wide, the work at home may become a burden to us. Then the message of the Lord’s lesson may encourage us, as it draws our attention to the work of the Father and to the progress of that work in His Sovereign way.

3. The message of His lesson

      “One sows and another reaps,” that is the truth of life, which the Lord Jesus uses for this lesson in the Kingdom of God as well. Also elsewhere in the Scriptures we read about this reality, viz. that the one person works hard while the next person reaps the fruits of that labour. The book of Ecclesiastes expresses even some complaints about that at a few places. The Preacher applies to it his “vanity of vanities, all things are vanity.” And in a way we can see it. In itself that is a bitter experience, when you have organized something, set it up, worked hard on it, spend your blood-sweat-and-tears on it so to speak, see it break down perhaps too, while the one who takes it over appears very successful. But let’s not get carried away with this saying now, for we have to see it as a truth, a message, for the situation with which the disciples are confronted. “For here the saying holds true...” He says, viz. in the case of these coming Samaritans it is true: He sowed, but now they, the disciples, may go out to reap. They didn’t do anything for it, yet they may share with the Lord Jesus in the joy of the next two days!

     But, that’s not all, beloved! For then the Lord Jesus alerts His disciples to yet another Sovereign wonder of His Father! For He adds, saying, “others have laboured and you have entered into their labour!” That, too, is His application of the message in the saying, “one sows and another reaps.” But whom does He mean with the others who sowed in this situation? Was He, the Lord Jesus, not the only one who sowed? He sowed the seed of the gospel in that deep conversation with the woman. He sowed the words which were so  overwhelming to the woman that she ran away, leaving her jar behind. So, who else has done the sowing here, the sowing preceding the reaping to which the disciples are called at this moment? Well, beloved, the woman of course! Who else?! First the Lord Jesus sowed, then the woman did! She was so impressed by the Word; she was so overwhelmed by the truth (even though the Lord’s approach had been very straight forward about herself, and she could have been offended by the fact that He had bluntly confronted her with her sinful past, her adulterous marriages...; but, no, that fact has even contributed to her amazement!) “This Rabbi is Him!” it sang in her! He knows you; He is the One! Hear Him! You see, beloved, that’s how she went to work with the gospel she heard from the Lord! And the Lord calls that sowing too!! The Lord reveals that this is just as much instrumental in the plan of God as the sowing He did, or the work His disciples would be doing! The woman worked with it! She didn’t just listen, get up, pitch her water, and return to her own life, her own situation, to live with the message she heard. No! She worked, she sowed, she became instrumental!

     What an eye-opener this is for the apostles, beloved, yes for us, office bearers and congregation alike. The disciples had different ideas about it. They thought that they would sow and they would reap, but now the Lord Jesus shows them the Sovereign will of the Father: He sends out to the Samaritans, to those whom they had written off; He gives a harvest instantly, where they would expect a growing season of months or years perhaps; and He uses a woman, a sinner indeed, and makes her fruitful for His Kingdom! Then the disciples may argue at times who is the most important among them, but they are put to shame, for actually the Lord can achieve His goal without them, if needs be.

     Brothers and sisters, let’s indeed take this message home and work with it! Let’s have a new look at our biases, our misconceptions, our wrong ideas perhaps, about the situation today and our calling in it. Let’s not neglect to pay attention to God’s Work in the field of this world. Let’s not neglect to see the fruits in that work. Let’s also keep working at home, cooperating in the work of home mission if we can, urging those who show interest to attend the services, etc. Yes, as recipients of the rich Word of God as preached to us from week to week, let us work with it here and with those whom we may have written off unintentionally, perhaps. Let’s do so with a view to the harvest, the fruits which the Father is gathering by office bearers and church members for eternal Life! Amen!


Geliefde gemeente van ons Here Jesus Christus

Die Here Jesus was besig om met ‘n vrou te praat; ‘n Samaritaanse vrou nogal. In die oë van die afstammelinge van Abraham was die Samaritane ‘n minderwaardige volk. Godsdienstig gesproke was hulle “basters”, ‘n mengsel van die oorgeblewe Efraïmiete, wat agtergebly het toe hulle mense na Assirië weggevoer is (ongeveer 722 v. C.), en van Assiriese immigrante, koloniste wat in dieselfde tyd na Kanaän getrek het. Godsdienstig gesproke was hulle aanbidding van God oneg, ‘n mens sou kon sê ‘n valse kerk: hulle het volgens ‘n onvolledige Bybel geleef (slegs die Wet van Moses!), op hulle eie plek aanbid (die berg Gerisim in plaas van Jerusalem). Daarbenewens, moreel gesproke is hierdie vrou met wie Jesus besig was om te gesels een van die slegstes; haar huweliksgeskiedenis was ‘n gemors, ‘n hele rits mans het haar as vrou gehad; op die oomblik het sy met ‘n man saamgewoon sonder dat hulle getroud was. Hierdie agtergrond van verval en afvalligheid was duidelik in haar geval, maar tog het die Here Jesus met haar gepraat.

Die Here Jesus het inderdaad, geliefdes, want Hy soek die wat weggedryf is, die wat verlore is (nie net hierdie vrou nie, maar ook die ander Samaritane wat later sou kom; sien v. 39-42). Ons lees dat die Here Jesus twee dae lank hier gebly het om te werk, … en baie het tot geloof gekom! Hulle het na Hom geluister en geglo dat Hy die Redder was, die beloofde Messias. Dit is die triomf van die evangelie van die Seun van God … vir Samaritane! Terwyl ons in hoofstuk 2: 23 en 24 lees dat die Here Jesus Homself nie aan die kinders van Israel toevertrou het nie, omdat Hy geweet het dat hulle motiewe en verwagtings nie suiwer was nie, hier het hulle in Hom geglo as die Messias! Hier het God reeds sy soewereiniteit openbaar! Soos wat Paulus later sal aantoon: Israel se struikeling is die redding van die heidene. Maar nou moet ons sien dat die Here Jesus dit vir sy dissipels wys! Hulle moet dit weet; die hele episode is ‘n les wat vir hulle bedoel is! Anders sou hulle gedink het dat sy sending ‘n mislukking was! Sy koninkryk sal kom op plekke waar hulle dit nie verwag nie; op maniere waaraan hulle nie sou gedink het nie! Dit is die boodskap vir sy dissipels, en vir sy kerk vandag (!) tot wie sy Woord vandag as volg kom:

Die Here Jesus onderrig sy dissipels omtrent saai en oes

  1. die geleentheid van sy les;
  2. die inhoud van sy les;
  3. die boodskap van sy les.

1.       Die geleentheid van sy les

Uit ons teks is dit duidelik, broers en susters, dat die Here Jesus wil uitkom by die boodskap: “Dit is een wat saai, en ‘n ander wat maai.” Die geleentheid waarby Hy hierdie les oordra, is egter die gesprek met die Samaritaanse vrou. Die oomblik waarop die Here Jesus begin om onderrig aan sy dissipels te gee, het Hy pas sy gesprek met die Samaritaanse vrou afgehandel. Sy het so pas vertrek as gevolg van die gevolgtrekking wat sy uit hulle gesprek gemaak het, naamlik die ontdekking dat Jesus heel moontlik die Messias is. Sy het dit ook gesê, waarop die Here geantwoord het: “Dit is Ek wat met jou spreek!” Nêrens anders het die Here Jesus so duidelik en uitdruklik gesê dat Hy die Messias is as by hierdie geleentheid nie! Vir die vrou was hierdie ontdekking so oorweldigend dat sy alles gelos het en teruggegaan het na die stad. In haar haas om haar ontdekking te deel, het sy haar waterkruik agtergelaat. Hierdie oomblik is so groot, sy moet dit gaan oorvertel!

Dit is juis op daardie oomblik dat die dissipels terugkom! Dan speel daar ‘n storie binne-in die storie af. Dit lyk asof die vloei van die verhaal onderbreek word…; dit word egter duidelik dat dit die hele doel van die verhaal was! Dit het alles gebeur om die dissipels ‘n les te leer. Hierdie dissipels het weggegaan om kos te gaan haal in die stad daar naby. Hulle het waarskynlik die stertkant van die gesprek gehoor. “En op dié oomblik het sy dissipels gekom,” lees ons in v. 27. “En op dié oomblik…,” nie vroeër nie, sodat die gesprek met die vrou nie onderbreek sou word nie; nie later nie, sodat die dissipels nie die groot gebeurtenis sou mis nie! Die Vader se Voorsienigheid is hier in volle glorie sigbaar!

Ons lees dan hulle het “hulle verwonder dat Hy met 'n vrou in gesprek was.” En dan nogal ‘n Samaritaanse vrou (“want die Jode hou geen gemeenskap met die Samaritane nie,” skryf die evangelis Johannes in vers 9). Tog hulle niks om hul verbasing te kenne te gee nie. Hulle wys dit net in hulle houding. Hulle Meester begryp tog sekerlik dat hulle so gou moontlik daar moet wegkom. Die Here Jesus het nou gerus. Hulle het vir Hom iets gekry om te eet… dus as Hy nou maar net dadelik sal eet, kan hulle binnekort padgee! Ten minste, dit is waarom hulle by Hom aandring dat Hy moet eet! Hulle het by Hom aangedring en gesê: Rabbi, eet! (soos wat die vorm van die werkwoord aandui). Want sodra Hy geëet het, kan hulle gaan! Hulle wou gaan! Hulle het nie op hulle gemak gevoel in die gebied van die Samaritane nie, en nog minder was hulle op hulle gemak met die manier waarop die Here Jesus met die mense hier omgegaan het.

Die Here Jesus, broers en susters, kyk egter anders na hierdie situasie! Hy is nog nie klaar hier nie! Hy het vir hulle gesê: “Ek het voedsel om te eet waar julle nie van weet nie.” Die dissipels het dit eers nie verstaan nie. Hulle het dit letterlik opgeneem  en aangeneem dat Hy daarna verwys dat hulle by Hom aandring om te eet, en gedink dat iemand alreeds vir Hom kos gegee het. Dit sou die probleem net vererger. Gestel Hy het saam met hierdie onrein Samaritaan geëet, hierdie lid van ‘n valse kerk. Dit sou nie sy aansien onder sy eie mense enigsins bevorder nie! Maar dit is nie wat Hy bedoel nie: “My voedsel is om die wil te doen van Hom wat My gestuur het en om sy werk te volbring.” Met ander woorde, dit wat vir my krag en bevrediging gee, soos wat kos doen, en waarin my siel ‘n behae het, is om die wil te doen van Hom wat My gestuur het!

My Vader stel my agenda vas, is wat Hy sê. Dit is sy werkprogram, sy program van redding  om die lewens te red van hulle wat deur die sonde vir die dood bestem is! Die Here Jesus het gekom om te werk, en by sy Vader was dit altyd die reël: deur werk sal jy kan eet! Dan is sy diens aan sy Vader van die eerste belang! Hy wil die werktuig wees van die Een wat Hom gestuur het, ‘n goeie werktuig waar Hy Hom ook al stuur! En dit is wat Hy was, ook hier onder die Samaritane. As dit die Vader se wil is om Hom hier ‘n geleentheid te gee…, sy Wil sal geskied! Dit is waarvoor Hy lewe!: “Kyk, ek kom…, o my God, om u welbehae te doen!” (Ps. 40:8,9). Dit is wat Hy doen, en sy Vader sal Hom die krag daarvoor gee, net soos wat voedsel en drank dit doen!

Dit is wat die dissipels in die eerste plek moes leer, geliefdes. Dit was nie so maklik nie! Die dissipels gaan nog meer onderrig nodig hê, maar hierdie was die eerste geleentheid waar hulle gewys is dat hulle Meester vir meer as net die Jode gekom het. Hy het almal kom soek wat verlore is. Hy het gekom om die wêreld te red; want so lief het God die wêreld gehad! Dit is wat hierdie geleentheid aan hulle openbaar. Hierdie les oortuig hulle nie dadelik nie. Herhaling was in hulle geval ook nodig; soos gesê word is herhaling die moeder van alle leerwerk. Petrus moes byvoorbeeld dieselfde les in Joppe leer, daar op die dak waar hy die laken uit die hemel sien neerdaal het, en later weer, toe Paulus vir hom dieselfde ding in Antiochië moes vertel! Want daar was hy ook ‘n struikelblok op die pad van die evangelie wat vir Jode sowel as Grieke bedoel was!

Maar ons, geliefdes, moet ook bereid wees om dieselfde les te leer. Die evangelie moet uitgaan, nie net na die heidene wat ver weg is nie, maar ook na ons buurman toe. En is dit nie juis in laasgenoemde geval wat ons so gewoond aan ons gevestigde standpunte nie? Ons het ons plek in die buurt; ons bure het hulle s’n. Ons ken mekaar se standpunte; ons het ons vooroordele en voorkeure. Maar waar dit op neerkom, is dat ons nie ons bure die moeite werd ag om na hulle uit te reik nie. Hulle is Samaritane vir ons! Dan het ons basies dieselfde uitgangspunt as die dissipels. Ons is ook baie besorg oor die voedsel en drank wat nodig is om ons in die lewe te hou. Maar laat ons dan herinner word aan die ware prioriteite in ons lewens: ons voedsel is in die eerste plek om God se wil te doen, om sy koninkryk te soek, ook wat uitreik betref. Die Here Jesus wys vir ons baie duidelik dat dit swaarder op sy hart druk as die bekommernisse oor daaglikse kos. Die groot vraag is daarom: wat is vir ons die belangrikste…; kan ons vir ‘n rukkie van voedsel en drank vergeet, omdat die belange van die koninkryk soms meer dringend is (vgl. Matt. 16:5)?!

Dan kan ons ook uit die Here Jesus se benadering leer, geliefdes, dat veral daardie terloopse gesprek, daardie toevallige geleentheid, tot sulke wonderlike resultate kan lei wanneer daar onverwags ‘n deur oopgemaak word. Dit is veral deurdat ons getuig teenoor diegene wat so duidelik kan sien dat ons woorde en dade ooreenstem dat ons getuienis so kragtig word. Moenie vergeet nie, geliefdes, ook langs daardie weg gaan die verspreiding van die evangelie in hierdie wêreld voort: in ander lande en by die huis! Sonder enige vooroordele! … Waardeloos? Geen resultate? Kom ons leer dan uit:

2.       Die inhoud van die Here se les oor saai en oes

In sy benadering tot onderrig, broers en susters, gebruik die Here Jesus die metode van kontras. Hy doen dit meer dikwels, byvoorbeeld in die Bergpredikasie. Dan hoor ons Hom ook sê: “Julle het gehoor dat aan die mense van die ou tyd gesê is…maar Ek sê vir julle…” Dan volg die punt wat Hy wil maak kragtig en met oortuiging. Dit doen Hy ook hier in ons teks: “Sê julle nie: Dit is nog vier maande, dan kom die oes nie? Kyk, Ek sê vir julle, slaan julle oë op en aanskou die lande dat hulle al wit is vir die oes.” Weer, geliefdes, was die dissipels se eerste reaksie om dit letterlik op te neem, soos wat hulle met die kos gemaak het. En inderdaad kon dit slegs vir hulle bevestig dat vir sover as wat dit daardie oes betref wat hulle op die velde rondom hulle sien, dit nog steeds vier maande sou duur. Maar hulle besef gou dat dit nie is wat hulle moet raaksien nie. Die Here Jesus gaan met sy les voort deur op ‘n ander manier oor saai en oes te praat! Hy was besig om te praat oor die oes van die ewige lewe! Dit is vir daardie oes wat Hy gekom het! Die reëls vir daardie oes is anders, net so ook die ervarings van die wat saai en oes.

Dit is wat hulle begin besef wanneer hulle tussen die sigbare velde mense sien naderkom, Samaritane wat nader gelok is deur die getuienis van hierdie vrou. Hulle is mense wat honger is vir woorde van die ewige lewe. Die Here Jesus het geweet dat hierdie oes hier vir Hom wag, omdat die Vader dit aan Hom geopenbaar het: hier is baie wat in Hom sal glo! Nie net op grond van die vrou se verhaal nie, wat hulle moontlik nuuskierig kon gemaak het, maar hulle sal glo omdat hulle die evangelie van die Seun self hoor! Hulle kom tot ‘n getuienis waarvoor die volk van die Here nog nie gereed is nie: “Ons weet dat Hy waarlik die Christus, die Saligmaker van die wêreld, is” (v. 42). Die saad wat in Judea gesaai is, val op klipharde grond, maar hier volg die oeswerk direk op die saaiwerk! “En hy wat maai,” voeg die Here Jesus dan by, “ontvang loon en vergader vrug vir die ewige lewe, sodat die saaier en die maaier saam bly kan wees.”

Ons moet erken, broers en susters, dat die Here se woorde nie heeltemal duidelik is as ‘n mens dit die eerste keer hoor nie. Wat bedoel Hy met die saaier en die maaier? As die uitdrukking van toepassing is op daardie oomblik, moet ons daarop let dat die saaier en die maaier een en dieselfde is, want dit is die Here Jesus self wat hier gesaai het en wat dadelik ‘n oes ontvang. Sommige kommentators meen dat die Here Jesus hier verwys na die werk van Johannes die Doper. Maar ons lees nêrens dat Johannes vroeër onder die Samaritane gewerk het nie. Die teks self bevat egter die sleutel om dit baie duideliker te maak, waar die Here Jesus self die woord “want” gebruik wanneer Hy sy verduideliking gee: “Want hierin is die woord waar: Dit is een wat saai, en 'n ander wat maai.” Die Here Jesus wys heen na die oes vir die ewige lewe wat naderkom, en wat beteken dat die dissipels in die volgende ure en dae sal moet werk: “Kyk op, maaiers!” Die dissipels was angstig en gereed om so vinnig as moontlik pad te gee, maar die Here Jesus noem die werk wat Hy besig was om te doen “saai”, met die gevolg dat dit nou hulle werk is om te oes! En Hy gee hulle die aansporing vir daardie taak in die loon wat hulle gaan ontvang, en die blydskap wat hulle deel sal word, blydskap oor en saam met die Saaier!

Die dissipels moet leer dat hulle geroep is om arbeiders te wees in God se veld, en daardie veld is die wêreld. Daardie werk kan behels dat die tydsverloop tussen saai en oes lank, baie lank kan wees (bv. in Israel se geval), terwyl dit elders kan lyk asof die oes byna onmiddelik plaasvind. Maar dan moet alle werkers in die koninkryk van God hulle oë gerig hou op die einddoel van saai en oes: vrug vir die ewige lewe! U sien, broers en susters, dit kan dan gebeur dat die ampsdraers by tye sug wanneer al hulle moeite, hulle onderrig, opdragte, vermanings skynbaar geen vrug dra nie, terwyl hulle in sendingnuus lees van plekke in Brasilië of Timor waar groepe mense hulle skynbaar na die Here wend. Dan gee die Here Jesus vir werkers daar sowel as hier die aansporing dat die werk beloon sal word, en dat die einddoel die oes vir die ewige lewe is! Dit sal die blydskap weer laat opvlam!

Moenie net na die resultate hier kyk nie, hou ook die oes elders in gedagte, sodat saaiers en maaiers saam kan bly wees! God is soewerein! Die plan vir die koninkryk behoort aan Hom! Hy bestuur dit soos wat Hy wil. Hy bepaal waar dit sal vrug dra, vandag of môre of eers miskien oor ‘n aantal jare. Maar daar moet blydskap wees oor die oes vir die ewige lewe! Die een saai, ‘n ander een maai, en die eindresultaat? ‘n Ontelbare skare! Ongelooflik! Die blydskap hou jou aan die gang, selfs wanneer die plaaslike oes teleurstellend is of wanneer dit baie lank duur vir die oes om ryp te word. Want, geliefdes, as ons ons nie meer daaroor verbly wanneer ons sien dat die werk in God se koninkryk wêreldwyd meer word nie, kan dit gebeur dat die werk tuis vir ons ‘n las word. Dan kan die boodskap van die Here se les ons bemoedig, omdat dit ons aandag vestig op die werk van die Vader en op die voortgang van daardie werk langs sy soewereine weg.

3.       Die boodskap van sy les

“Dit is een wat saai, en 'n ander wat maai.” Dit is ‘n lewenswaarheid wat die Here Jesus ook gebruik vir hierdie les in die koninkryk van God. Ons lees ook elders in die Skrif van hierdie werklikheid, nl. dat een persoon hard werk terwyl die volgende persoon die vrugte daarvan pluk. Die boek Prediker bevat selfs ‘n paar klagtes daaroor. Die Prediker pas sy uitspraak,” alles tevergeefs, dit is alles tevergeefs!” daarop toe. Op ‘n manier kan ‘n mens dit verstaan. Op sigself is dit ‘n bitter ervaring as ‘n mens iets georganiseer het, dit gebou het, hard daaraan gewerk het, jou bloed, sweet en trane by wyse van spreke daarop  uitgestort het, en dit dalk selfs sien verbrokkel het, terwyl dit lyk asof die een wat dit oorneem baie suksesvol is. Maar laat ons nie onsself met hierdie gesegde laat meevoer nie, want ons moet dit sien as ‘n waarheid, ‘n boodskap, vir die omstandighede waarmee die disspels gekonfronteer word. “Want hierin is die woord waar: …” Hy sê dat dit naamlik waar is in die geval van hierdie Samaritane wat besig is om nader te kom: Hy het gesaai, maar nou kan hulle, die dissipels, uitgaan om te oes. Hulle het nog niks gedoen om dit te verdien nie, tog mag hulle saam met die Here Jesus deel hê aan die blydskap van die volgende twee dae!

Maar dit is nie al nie, geliefdes! Want dan wys die Here Jesus sy dissipels op nog een van sy Vader se soewereine wonders! Want Hy voeg by: “Ander het gewerk, en julle het in hulle arbeid ingegaan.” Ook dit is sy toepassing van die boodskap in die gesegde: “Dit is een wat saai, en 'n ander wat maai.” Maar wat bedoel Hy met die ander wat in hierdie geval ook gesaai het? Was Hy, die Here Jesus, nie die enigste een wat gesaai het nie? Hy het die saad van die evangelie gesaai in daardie diep gesprek wat Hy met die vrou gehad het. Hy het die woorde gesaai wat die vrou so oorweldig het dat sy weggehardloop het sonder om haar kruik saam te vat. Wie anders het dan hier die saaiwerk gedoen, die saaiwerk wat die oes voorafgaan waartoe die dissipels op hierdie oomblik opegroep word? Wel, geliefdes, dit is natuurlik die vrou! Wie anders?! Eers het die Here Jesus gesaai, en toe het die vrou gesaai! Sy was so onder die indruk van die Woord, sy is so oorweldig deur die waarheid (selfs al was die Here se benadering tot haar baie reguit oor haarself, en kon sy maklik aanstoot geneem het aan die feit dat Hy haar prontuit gekonfronteer het met haar sondige verlede en haar owerspelige huwelike…; maar nee, daardie feit het bygedra tot haar verwondering!) “Hierdie Rabbi is Hy!” het dit in haar gesing! Hy ken jou; Hy is die Een! Luister na Hom! Julle sien, geliefdes, dit is hoe sy aan die werk gespring het met die evangelie wat sy van die Here ontvang het! En die Here noem dit ook saai!! Die Here openbaar dat dit net so instrumenteel vir God se plan is as die saaiwerk wat Hy gedoen het, of die werk wat sy dissipels sou doen! Die vrou het daarmee gewerk! Sy het nie net geluister, opgestaan, haar kruik opgetel en met haar eie lewe aangegaan, teruggekeer na haar eie omstandighede, om te leef met die boodskap wat sy gehoor het nie. Nee! Sy het gewerk, sy het gesaai, sy het ‘n werktuig geword!

Wat ‘n openbaring is dit vir die apostels, geliefdes, ja vir ons, ampsdraers sowel as gemeente. Die dissipels het anders daaroor gedink. Hulle het gedink dat hulle sou saai en dat hulle sou oes, maar nou wys die Here Jesus vir hulle wat die soewereine wil van die Vader is: Hy doen sending onder die Samaritane, onder die wat hulle afgeskryf het; Hy gee ‘n onmiddellike oes, waar hulle ‘n groeiseisoen van maande of selfs jare sou verwag het; en Hy gebruik ‘n vrou, ‘n sondaar selfs, en maak haar vrugbaar in sy koninkryk! Die dissipels kan by tye argumenteer oor wie nou eintlik die belangrikste onder hulle is, maar hulle word almal beskaam, want in werklikheid kan die Here sy doel, indien nodig, sonder hulle bereik.

Broers en susters, kom ons neem inderdaad hierdie boodskap saam huis toe en werk daarmee! Kom ons kyk met nuwe oë na ons vooroordele, ons wanopvattings, ons verkeerde idees miskien, omtrent die omstandighede van vandag en ons roeping daarbinne. Laat ons nie nalaat om aandag te gee aan God se werk in die veld van hierdie wêreld nie. Laat ons nie nalaat om die vrugte in daardie werk raak te sien nie. Laat ons ook aanhou werk by die huis, saamwerk in die taak van sending indien ons kan, om die wat belangstelling toon aan te moedig om die dienste by te woon, ens. Ja, as ontvangers van die ryk Woord van God wat week na week aan ons verkondig word, laat ons hier daarmee werk en met die wat ons miskien onbedoeld afgeskryf het. Laat ons dit doen met die oog op die oes, die vrugte wat die Vader insamel deur ampsdraers en kerklede vir die ewige lewe! Amen!








Ps. 29: 1, 4, 5;

Ps. 40: 2, 3, 4;

Ps. 87: 1-5;

SB 9: 1, 2, 3;

SB 23: 1-4.

Reading: John 4: 1 - 42;

Text: John 4: 31-38.

VGK Johannesburg, January 28, 2018.