White Harvest?Posted October 26 2011
You ever wondered what Jesus was talking about when he mentions the “White Harvest”? (John 4:35)
Jesus talks about the "white
harvest" after he had talked to the woman at the well and revealed her
need for living water. The disciples returned, making her aware of the social
stigma of a Samaritan woman talking to a Jewish man, so she took leave to the
nearby town and shared about Christ with the people. John 4:30 says that the
people went out of the town and were coming to Jesus.
The disciples try to persuade Jesus to eat, but Jesus has his mind on other things. There was most likely a field of crops around the well, since the well was a rare source of water for people and crops, so you can almost imagine Jesus and his disciples standing in a field, watching as people from the nearby town hurry over to see who this Christ is. It's not likely that the field had ripe crops yet (being that harvesting season was around April or May and it probably wasn't December or January when this narrative happens). Crops became white when they were ripe, but the fields at this time were probably a solid green. Still, the analogy appropriate for the disciples who knew much about agriculture and the harvesting seasons. No doubt the disciples were confused by this statement, looking around at the all green fields.
But Jesus told them that, in fact, "the fields are white for harvest," a picture that the disciples are seeing firsthand: the people from the town who are hurrying towards them stand tall among the growing crops, and their white clothes (typical of the time) stands out in stark contrast above the green fields. Jesus is talking about the people who are coming to him, drawn by curiosity or hope. He's not thinking about food or his own welfare, but his mind is on these people only. Jesus was telling his disciples that these people were ready to receive the Messiah, that the seeds that had been sown were ready to be harvested. He says to them, "I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor" (John 4:38). They are the new harvesters, chosen for the work of God.
Essentially, the "white harvest" is an evangelical reminder to disciples of Christ. Jesus goes on to talk about the eternal rewards that those who reap the harvest are gaining, "that the sower and reaper may rejoice together." He emphasizes a partnership between the sower and reaper in the saving work of the Gospel through Jesus Christ. In many ways, the woman at the well was the first evangelist, sowing the seeds, and the disciples were the first "reapers." John 4:39 affirms that "Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony."
So it's encouraging that the "white harvest" is Christ's reminder to Christians of the readiness, and the needs that unbelieving people have for the Gospel. It is an evangelistic message in the truest sense. We recognize that whether we're sowers or reapers, we are doing the work of Christ, not alone, but in a partnership with one another. It's a great message and "white harvest" makes for a GREAT shirt/crew neck sweatshirt design! Check this out, it’s on a super trendy crew sweatshirt and a kid’s shirt!