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What does John 4:35 mean?

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John 4:35, NIV: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

John 4:35, ESV: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

John 4:35, KJV: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

 

What does John 4:35 mean?

In prior verses, Jesus began to draw an analogy between the “spiritual food” of serving God and the physical food which refreshes the body. Here, He continues that analogy by comparing the work of evangelism to that of collecting crops.

The phrase Jesus uses at the start of this verse might have been a local proverb. Experienced farmers could look at the season, and know how far away the harvest-time was. Those same farmers could look at their fields to recognize the right time to bring in the crops. The disciples should have the ability to recognize the right time for a spiritual harvest, as well.

In this case, the Samaritan woman is bringing many people from town back to meet Jesus (John 4:30). When a wheat field is ready to be collected, the tips of the plants appear white. The crowd of people, in white garments and head-wear, might have echoed this same imagery. Presumably, the disciples could have turned from Jesus to see the sight of an approaching crowd, and would have grasped His meaning. Evangelism is not merely something to be done when we think it’s convenient; waiting until the perfect moment means never getting anything done at all (Ecclesiastes 11:4).

You can still read the other translations 

John 4:35, NASB: “‘Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest ‘? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”

John 4:35, NLT: “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”

John 4:35, CSB: “”Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, and then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, because they are ready for harvest.”

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