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John 4:38

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I sent you - In the commission given you to preach the gospel. You have not labored or toiled in preparing the way for the great harvest which is now to be gathered in.

Other men laboured -

(1)The prophets, who long labored to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.

(2)the teachers among the Jews, who have read and explained the law and taught the people.

(3)John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way. And,

(4)The Saviour himself, who by his personal ministry taught the people, and prepared them for the success which was to attend the preaching of the apostles.

Especially did Jesus lay the foundation for the rapid and extensive spread of the gospel. “He” saw comparatively little fruit of his ministry. He confined his labors to Judea, and even there he was occupied in sowing seed which chiefly sprang up after his death. From this we may learn:

1. That the man who is crowned with eminent success has no cause of “boasting” over others, any more than the man who reaps a field of grain should boast over the man who sowed it. The labor of both is equally necessary, and the labor of both would be useless if God did not give the increase. Compare 1 Corinthians 3:6.

2. We should not be discouraged if we do not meet with immediate success. The man that sows is not disheartened because he does not see the harvest “immediately” spring up. We are to sow our seed in the morning, and in the evening we are not to withhold our hand, for we know not whether shall prosper, this or that; and we are to go forth bearing precious seed, though “weeping,” knowing that we shall come again rejoicing, bearing our sheaves with us, Ecclesiastes 11:4; Psalm 126:6.

3. Every part of the work of the ministry and of teaching men is needful, and we should rejoice that we are permitted to bear any part, however humble, in bringing sinners to the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:21-24.

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
Selected Messages Book 2, 224

While you are anxious to do all that you possibly can, remember, Elder Haskell, that it is only by the great mercy and grace of God that you have been spared these many years to bear your testimony. Do not take upon yourself loads that others who are younger can carry. 2SM 224.1

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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

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 194-5

Those who have been most successful in soul-winning were men and women who did not pride themselves on their ability, but who in humility and faith sought to help those about them. Jesus did this very work. He came close to those whom He desired to reach. How often, with a few gathered about Him, He gave His lessons, and one by one the passers-by paused to listen, until a great multitude heard with wonder and awe the words of the heaven-sent Teacher. GW 194.1

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Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 409-10

“One soweth, and another reapeth.” [John 4:37.] The Saviour spoke these words in anticipation of the ordination and sending forth of His disciples. Throughout Judea, Christ had been sowing the seeds of truth. Clearly and distinctly He had outlined the plan of salvation; for the truth never languished on His lips. The earthly work of the great Teacher was soon to close. The disciples were to follow after, reaping where He had sown, that both the Sower and the reapers might rejoice together. GW 409.1

Today in His great harvest-field God has need of sowers and of reapers. Let those who go forth into the work, some to sow and some to reap, remember that they are never to take to themselves the glory for the success of their work. God's appointed agencies have been before them, preparing the way for the sowing of the seed and the reaping of the harvest. “I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor,” Christ said; “other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” [John 4:38.] GW 409.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 403

We are to raise the banner on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Obedience to God's law is the great issue. Let it not be put out of sight. We must strive to arouse church members, and those who make no profession, to see and obey the claims of the law of Heaven. We are to magnify this law and make it honorable. 2SM 403.1

Christ has commissioned us to sow the seeds of truth, and to urge upon our people the importance of the work to be done by those who are living amidst the closing scenes of this earth's history. As the words of truth are proclaimed in the highways and the byways, there is to be a revelation of the working of the Spirit of God on human hearts. 2SM 403.2

Oh, how much good might be accomplished if all who have the truth, the Word of life, would labor for the enlightenment of those who have it not. When the Samaritans came to Christ at the call of the Samaritan woman, Christ spoke of them to His disciples as a field of grain ready for harvesting. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?” He said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). Christ abode with the Samaritans for two days; for they were hungry to hear the truth. And what busy days they were! As a result of those days of labor, “many more believed because of his own word” (John 4:41). This was their testimony: “We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:42). 2SM 403.3

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