Near the center of town, there was a corner where the people who were looking for work would go, and if someone needed workers for the day, they could come there and find them. When John arrived, there were already several people standing there, and before long there was a small crowd. A few were being hired here and there, but with so many people out of work it looked like there might not be enough jobs to go around again today. But then a man came walking in on the east road, and he stood up on a step and said; "I am the owner of the vineyard to the east, beyond the river. The time has come for the harvest and I need workers. Any of you who want jobs can go now to my vineyard and the steward will give you work to do."
John was overjoyed! He could hardly believe it! All these people hired by this one man... could it really be true? He wasn't going to take any chances, so he was off like a shot, running down the east road. And as he ran, watching as the sky was beginning to brighten ahead of him, he laughed at himself, because he hadn't even thought to ask how much he would be paid.
When he got to the vineyard, his eyes opened wide and his mouth fell open. The vineyard was enormous! No wonder the owner had hired everyone in the marketplace, there was so much work to be done! He wished so much that he could send word back to Philip in town... maybe even he could get some kind of work here today. But he didn't have time. The steward was making job assignments, and John went right to work with a crew in one of the nearer fields.
After he had been working for quite a while, he paused to wipe the sweat from his brow, and he noticed that in the distance, another big group of people was coming from the town to the vineyard. "Well!" he thought, "This is certainly a great day for the hungry people in town! The owner is still hiring even though the morning is half over." He wondered if Philip might be in this group, and he wanted to go and see, but he had to let it go. He turned back to his work.
Midday finally came, and there was a break for lunch. John was feeling pretty weak by now, and as he walked towards the well by the owner's house, he couldn't help but think about the bread he had left at home that morning. "Maybe..." he thought, "one of the other workers will take pity on me and share his lunch with me." But when he got to the well, he couldn't believe his eyes! There was the steward of the vineyard handing out big loaves of bread and fish to anyone who wanted them! The owner of the vineyard was feeding all of the workers, and there was more than enough for all of them! John ate his fill for the first time in a long time, and rested under a shady tree.