Our theme for 2012 is Harvest, becoming partners in God’s promises. John 4 tells us about Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well. This interaction begins with Jesus asking for a drink of water and ends with many from a Samaritan city putting their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. In the passage I believe that we see Jesus’ heart and plan for harvest, for the Samaritans on the day it occurred and for us today. The plan is simple but powerful:

1. Jesus restores order. Society had chosen prejudice. The Jews were prejudiced toward the Samaritans, they considered them to not be “pure” Jews and so they despised them because of their race. When Jesus spoke to this Samaritan woman He was rejecting the idea of prejudice, He was turning what was upside down right side up and He was restoring order that said that He came for all flesh and that no one was to be rejected on the basis of race or gender.

2. Jesus destroys rejection. Jesus asked the woman to go and get her husband, she responds that she does not have a husband and then Jesus reveals that He already knows that she has had five husbands and now lives with a man that won’t marry her. This woman had been constantly rejected. She had been “put away” five times and now, the man she lived with does not find her worthy of becoming his wife. Jesus is showing her that He knows her life and He has chosen her, not in spite of it, but in the midst of it. Rejection is destroyed when acceptance is offered. This woman was an outcast in her own town and yet it was her that Jesus chose to reveal Himself to and to use as the spark that would light the flame of salvation for her town. Being chosen by God heals the rejection of the past.

3. Jesus reaps a harvest of salvation. When order is restored, when rejection is destroyed salvation springs forth! In our minds, Jesus’ could have gone into that city and preached a great sermon and many would have been saved. God chose to not work according to our minds, but His promises. His plan was to bring salvation to this city, but the plan He chose was to use a rejected woman as the catalyst for the harvest. Our calling today is to see God’s plan and to enter into it. To listen to His promises and not just believe them but join Him in the midst of them. It is time  for the Church of Christ to restore order, to turn the worlds ideas, plans and thoughts right side up. Too many of us have followed culture rather than establishing culture. We are called to restore order to our communities. From that place we will be given the opportunity to destroy rejection. We need to stop weighing whether or not people have earned what they have, we need to realize that they are less than they were created to be. Jesus’ point to this woman was not to reveal her sin, she was aware of it, but to embrace her and heal and forgive her sin. Harvest is the restoration of God’s plan in creation, we take part in that restoration when we are led by the Spirit and when we long for harvest.

This next year will bring us many opportunities for harvest. It will be our time to restore order and destroy rejection, it will require us to make harvest our priority, to let nothing get in the way of salvation and to choose the ways of God no matter how much they seem to cost us in this world. The harvest is ripe, the only thing lacking today is laborers, may we pray to be the laborers and to see the reaping of the harvest of God in and through our lives.