When Jesus teaches the Samaritan woman about worship, it’s all about spirit and truth. That cuts through all the preconceived notions she had – and we have – about where and when and how we worship the Lord. The result is a relationship worship that is closer…
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Samaritans and Jews disagreed on where worship of the Lord was meant to happen. And when the Samaritan women senses that Jesus is a prophet, she brings up the difference of opinion. Jesus’ answer cuts through all the preconceived notions she had (and we have) about worship.
The future of worship is not about place. Jesus says the first thing is to worship in truth. He proclaimed that salvation is from the Jews, and worshiping the God of the Jews is true worship. To worship outside of truth puts us in the precarious position of Romans 1. Paul writes there that people exchange the truth of God for a lie and that they worship the created thing rather than the creator.
When we worship the true God, we worship the person of the true God. Not an object. Not a thing. The person of God who desires relationship with us. God is relational.
God is also spirit. And in this sense, the worship of God is not here or there. It is everywhere. The person of God is the spirit of God who is everywhere and is to be worshiped everywhere. Which brings me back to me…
If my worship doesn’t occur at a place (i.e. church), and is rather an everywhere activity, and the person of God is spirit, also everywhere, what does that mean for my life and my worship? I think it means that my life ought to be worship. In the context of the story, I think it also means all areas of my life ought to be reflective of my worship.
The Samaritan woman’s brokenness in marriage and divorce was opened up before the Lord. What parts of our brokenness ought to be opened up as we worship with all of ourselves? I think the answer is all of ourselves.
Spirit and truth worship is about all of ourselves worshiping the almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in spirit – everywhere all the time…