"my food is to do God's will"

The third retreat session could focus on the last part of the story of the woman at the well, John 4.31-42. This would probably be the main message of the retreat.

The disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work."

Here Jesus talks of eating instead of drinking. But just as Jesus talked about a spring of water flowing out of us, so also his food seems to come from a new source, to come out of him. He says, "My food is to do God's will."

What do you think this means?

It seems Jesus is making a strong connection between doing what God wants and having our needs met so that we can continue to do what God wants. In another place, Jesus said something similar:
Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be yours as well. (Lk 12.29-31)
Instead of focusing on providing for our own needs, with all the burdens and obsessions that go along with that, Jesus says to focus on serving God. "And all these things will be yours as well." Instead of worrying about our own hungers and thirsts, let God worry about those. Our Father knows our needs. We should turn our attention to doing what God wants, and trust that he will provide what we need to carry this out.

What kind of things are the will of God, the work of God? How can we understand God's will better? Have you had experiences of being given what you needed to do God's work?

When Jesus revealed himself to the Samaritan woman, he gave her something to do that was right for her, as the person she was, and was a help for the people around her right then. And God usually gives us something to do in the same way. We need to look at ourselves, our interests and abilities, and look around us for the needs of others.

Where is there a need right around me? Being the person I am, what can I do to help?

It may seem impossible to stop thinking about our own needs and focus instead on doing what God asks and helping those around us. But Jesus promised to give us what we need to become a spring of water overflowing for others. "The water I give you will become in you a spring of water..."

This is hard to believe, but:

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."

"The water I give you will become in you a spring of water..." Do we believe this?

[It would be good to close the retreat with a worship time. I'd like to use the water again, maybe referring to the pool of Bethzatha (where an angel would stir the waters to heal people), asking each person to stir the water then touch someone else's forehead, as a prayer for them.]