21 Jesus told her, “Believe me, woman, an hour 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, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” — John 4:21-24
Worshipping God in Spirit and Truth
by Dennis Worley
Where is your favorite ‘place’ to worship? Where is that one room in your home with the quiet surroundings where you know that when you are there, you will sense a greater presence of God?
In this passage, Jesus makes it clear to the Samaritan woman that ‘place’ does not matter, and it’s not the real point. This woman had just asked Jesus (vs.19) why the Jews insisted Jerusalem was the only place of worship, while Samaritans believed it to be Mount Gerizim. Jesus then says 93 words to this woman—5 sentences of red-letter words in our Bible—that not only completely re-directs her thinking, but also outlines true worship and what Jesus is looking for in a worshiper!
- He tells her (and us) that it no longer matters "where" you worship.
- He tells her (and us) the time is now when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
- He tells her (and us) that the Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way.
- He tells her (and us) that God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.
Spirit and truth. Not one or the other—both. Jesus reminds us the importance of balance in worshiping Him. I have heard it put this way: “head and heart” worship. One without the other leaves a void in our response to God in worship. If we only respond with head (what we know to be true), but our hearts are not engaged (spirit), we lack an appropriate or balanced response to God. If we only respond with heart (spirit), but our heads (what we know to be true) are not engaged in proclaiming God’s truth, we also lack an appropriate or balanced response to God. It’s “both/and” that Jesus is looking for.
We never have to wonder what pleases God. He told this woman (and us), “The Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way.” Whether we are sitting alone with our Bibles open being reminded of God’s love and faithfulness, or we are standing among a crowd of people in a worship service, may we always be the one that our Father is looking for to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
- As you worship privately each day, identify the ways that God reveals Himself to you both in spirit and in truth.
- Read the following passages to give added meaning to your time of worship: Romans 12:1 and Hebrews 13:15-16
- What does it mean to you when you realize that God is looking for worshipers who will worship Him in spirit and truth?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.