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§ 125. Christ’s Glances at the future Progress of his Kingdom, and at his own Death.

After Christ had made himself known as Messiah to the Samaritan woman, she hastened joyfully to the city to tell the strange things that had happened to her. Her countrymen came out in throngs at her call. In the mean time, however, the disciples had returned, and found their Master just closing his conversation with the woman; and, although both surprised and curious, they asked no questions about the occasion or subject of the conversation.

But they wondered that he did not touch the provisions they had brought. His corporeal wants are forgotten in the higher thoughts that occupy him; the work of his life is before him, the planting of the seeds of Divine truth in a human soul, and through it in many others, even beyond the limits of the Jewish people. The Samaritan woman is an exponent of this new progress of the kingdom of God. Her countrymen are approaching; the seed is already germinating. He replies, therefore, to his disciples, “I have meat to eat which ye know not of. (The nourishment of the body is forgotten in that of the Spirit.) My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work (to sow the seed for the general diffusion of the kingdom of God among men).”

He then illustrates the work of God, which he had just begun among the Samaritans, by a similitude301301   This similitude is of the same character with Christ’s parables given in the first three Gospels in general, and especially with those taken from sowing seed, &c.; a sign of the common character that pervaded all his discourses. from the face of Nature before them. Glancing, on the one side, at the peasants scattered over the fertile valley, busily sowing their seed, and, on the other, at the Samaritans, thronging from the town in answer to the woman’s call, he says to the disciples, “Are ye not wont to say, at this season of the year, ‘There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?302302   A proverb taken from the climate and farming of that part of the country. So it is, indeed, in the natural, but not in the spiritual world. The seed is just sown, and already the harvest appears. ‘Lift up your eyes’ (pointing to the approaching Samaritans), ‘and see how the fields are already whitening to the harvest.’”


A profound glance into the soul of Christ and the secret connexion of his thoughts is now opened to us.303303   A mark of truth, not of fiction. He cannot utter this prediction of the glorious harvest that is to follow the seed which he has sown, without the mournful, though pleasant, thought that he shall not live to see its gathering. He must leave the earth before the harvest-home; nay, his death itself is to prepare the way for it. So he tells his disciples that they shall reap what he had sowed; but that he shall rejoice with them [“That both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour”].304304   There is no ground whatever to refer John, iv., 37, 38 (as Strauss does) especially to the later ministry of the Apostles in Samaria. The prediction which they contain is just like those in Matt., x., 26; Luke, xii., 3; and in the parables hereafter examined (p. 188-190). Any one putting these words into Christ’s mouth, in order to point to the labours of the Apostles in Samaria as having been preceded by Christ’s, would have been less reserved and delicate about it by far. Distant intimations like this were the only announcements of his approaching death that Christ made at this early period of his ministry.305305   Luke, v., 35.

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