Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


John 4:35

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? - In Palestine, the harvest did not begin till after the passover, which was fixed on the 14th of the month Nisan, which answers to our March, and sometimes extends into April. The barley harvest was the first; after that the wheat; and both were finished by Pentecost. For, in the feast of Pentecost, the first fruits of all the harvest were carried to the temple, and waved before the Lord. See Leviticus 23:11. The four months, of which our Lord speaks here, must be computed, according to M. Toynard, from Shebat, which was the eleventh month of the sacred year, and which commenced that year on the 13th of January: from that, till the beginning of the wheat harvest, which began about a month after the passover, there were exactly four months. The passover was that year on the 15th of Nisan, or March 28; and Pentecost took place on the 17th of May. We may therefore suppose that it was about the 13th of January, or beginning of the month Shebat, that John the Baptist was cast into prison, and that Christ retired into Galilee. The fixing of this epoch is of considerable importance. See Calmet's Com. on this place.

The following method of dividing the seasons among the Jews is thus stated in Bava Metsia, fol. 106. "Half Tisri, all Marheshvan, and half Cisleu, is זרע zera . Seed-Time. Half Cisleu, whole Tebeth, and half Shebat, is חורף choreph, Winter. Half Shebat, whole Adar, and half Nisan, is קור kor, the Winter Solstice. Half Nisan, all Ijar, and half Sivan, is קציר katsir, Harvest. Half Sivan, all Tammuz, and half Ab, is קייץ kyits, Summer. Half Ab, all Elul, and half Tisri, is חום chum, the great Heat." The Jews sowed wheat and spelt in Tisri and Marheshvan; and barley in Shebat and Adar. Now let us reckon τετραμηνον, the four months, backwards, from the beginning of the barley harvest, or the middle of the month Nisan, and we shall go back to the middle of the month Cisleu, which will fall in with the beginning of our December, whence it will be easy to conjecture what feast that was, mentioned John 5:1, viz. the passover. See Lightfoot; and see the note on John 5:1.

After all that learned men have said on this passage, it does not appear that our Lord meant any thing by it more than an illustration of his present subject. Though there were ordinarily four months from seed-time to harvest, and that a man, after he had sowed his seed, must wait patiently till the regular and natural harvest came, yet it was not the case now: the seed of life which he had sown but a few hours ago had already brought forth much fruit; therefore he says, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, over which it is likely the Samaritans were then coming in troops, guided by the woman who had already received the light of the Gospel of peace.

The fields - are white already to harvest - Multitudes of Samaritans are coming to believe on me, and to be saved unto eternal life. Probably they had a kind of white raiment.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Say not ye - This seems to have been a proverb. Ye say - that is, men say.

Four months and … - The common time from sowing the seed to the harvest, in Judea, was about “four months.” The meaning of this passage may be thus expressed: “The husbandman, when he sows his seed, is compelled to wait a considerable period before it produces a crop. He is encouraged in sowing it; he expects fruit; his labor is lightened by that expectation; but it is not “immediate” - it is remote. But it is not so with my preaching. The seed has already sprung up. Scarce was it sown before it produced an abundant harvest. The gospel was just preached to a woman, and see how many of the Samaritans come to hear it also. There is therefore more encouragement to labor in this field than the farmer has to sow his grain.”

Lift up your eyes - See the Samaritans coming to hear the gospel.

They are white - Grain, when ripe, turns from a green to a yellow or light color, indicating that it is time to reap it. So here were indications that the gospel was effectual, and that the harvest was to be gathered in. Hence, we may learn:

1. that there is as much encouragement to attempt to save souls as the farmer has to raise a crop.

2. that the gospel is fitted to make an immediate impression on the minds of men. We are to expect that it will. We are not to wait to some future period, as if we could not expect immediate results. This wicked and ignorant people - little likely, apparently, to be affected - turned to God, heard the voice of the Saviour, and came in multitudes to him.

3. We are to expect revivals of religion. Here was one instance of it under the Saviour‘s own preaching. Multitudes were excited, moved, and came to learn the way of life.

4. We know not how much good may be done by conversation with even a single individual. This conversation with a woman resulted in a deep interest felt throughout the city, and in the conversion of many of them to God. So, a single individual may often be the means, in the hand of God, of leading many to the cross of Jesus.

5. What evils may follow from neglecting to do our duty! How easily might Jesus have alleged, if he had been like many of his professed disciples, that he was weary, that he was hungry, that it was esteemed improper to converse with a woman alone, that she was an abandoned character, and there could be little hope of doing her good! How many consciences of ministers and Christians would have been satisfied with reasoning like this? Yet Jesus, in spite of his fatigue and thirst, and all the difficulties of the case, seriously set about seeking the conversion of this woman. And behold what a glorious result! The city was moved, and a great harvest was found ready to be gathered in! “Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 106-7

When they were scattered by persecution they went forth filled with missionary zeal. They realized the responsibility of their mission. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world; and they were constrained by the love of Christ to break this bread to all who were in need. The Lord wrought through them. Wherever they went, the sick were healed and the poor had the gospel preached unto them. AA 106.1

Philip, one of the seven deacons, was among those driven from Jerusalem. He “went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits ... came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” AA 106.2

Christ's message to the Samaritan woman with whom He had talked at Jacob's well had borne fruit. After listening to His words, the woman had gone to the men of the city, saying, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” They went with her, heard Jesus, and believed on Him. Anxious to hear more, they begged Him to remain. For two days He stayed with them, “and many more believed because of His own word.” John 4:29, 41. AA 106.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 183-95

This chapter is based on John 4:1-42.

On the way to Galilee Jesus passed through Samaria. It was noon when He reached the beautiful Vale of Shechem. At the opening of this valley was Jacob's well. Wearied with His journey, He sat down here to rest while His disciples went to buy food. DA 183.1

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 402

This was the only miracle that Jesus wrought while on this journey. It was for the performance of this act that He went to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He wished to relieve the afflicted woman, and at the same time to leave an example in His work of mercy toward one of a despised people for the benefit of His disciples when He should no longer be with them. He wished to lead them from their Jewish exclusiveness to be interested in working for others besides their own people. DA 402.1

Jesus longed to unfold the deep mysteries of the truth which had been hid for ages, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs with the Jews, and “partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6. This truth the disciples were slow to learn, and the divine Teacher gave them lesson upon lesson. In rewarding the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and preaching the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar, He had already given evidence that He did not share the intolerance of the Jews. But the Samaritans had some knowledge of God; and the centurion had shown kindness to Israel. Now Jesus brought the disciples in contact with a heathen, whom they regarded as having no reason above any of her people, to expect favor from Him. He would give an example of how such a one should be treated. The disciples had thought that He dispensed too freely the gifts of His grace. He would show that His love was not to be circumscribed to race or nation. DA 402.2

When He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” He stated the truth, and in His work for the Canaanite woman He was fulfilling His commission. This woman was one of the lost sheep that Israel should have rescued. It was their appointed work, the work which they had neglected, that Christ was doing. DA 402.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 488

Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour's blood. DA 488.1

“And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was wont, He taught them again.” Mark 10:1. DA 488.2

A considerable part of the closing months of Christ's ministry was spent in Perea, the province on “the farther side of Jordan” from Judea. Here the multitude thronged His steps, as in His early ministry in Galilee, and much of His former teaching was repeated. DA 488.3

Read in context »
More Comments
Jesus' Ministry according to John
Jesus' Journeys from Galilee to Judea