“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 (ESV)
I’m sure a Samaritan village would not have looked like a harvest field to a bunch of good Jewish guys like the disciples! Even Jesus told them that he himself was called to reach Israel, and in fact told them to only preach to Jewish people when he sent them out two-by-two to practice. Yet here, Jesus is clearly saying that this Samaritan village is ripe for harvest — and by implication, they were going to harvest that field.
Life with Jesus involves coloring outside the lines! Rules were meant to be broken and boundaries were meant to be crossed — as long as one is following the heart of God. And the heart of God is for people to be saved and set free — to be able to enter into the glorious freedom of knowing God intimately and to worship freely.
Following Jesus often requires changing plans on a moment’s notice. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Galilee. This was at best a place to change planes, but not to have an extended layover. Yet Jesus noted how thirsty the people were and how receptive they were to him, and in such a place ripe for the picking, he knew the Father’s heart was for him to change plans and be about the Father’s business.
We must learn to sense both the Father’s heart and the spiritual ripeness of places, and be able to adjust based on what we see and hear. This is how amazing and miraculous things happen — but it requires laying down or at least postponing what it is we think we are doing for God-laden opportunities before us.