19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
A Small Talk
The discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan woman evolved from water to worship. Don’t look down on small talks with others, it can evolve into something very deep. The woman did not know Jesus but as they talk, she sensed that this person was very different from others, even though she could not really tell what the difference was. I hope that even in small things like talking, people can feel our difference from other people, not that we have to say something really deep to impress others but just be who you are, your difference from others is from inside not just the words you speak.
A Bold Statement
“Here or Jerusalem” was the debate for centuries. The Jews and the Samaritans have debated where they should worship God. I think they supported their arguments with tradition and may even have some Scriptures backup. However, Jesus said, “neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” This was a shocking statement from the mouth of a Jew, even to the point of blasphemy. The Jews have worshipped God in Jerusalem for a thousand years, the great temple in Jerusalem was initiated by none other but the greatest king in Jewish history, David. Now Jesus said you would not worship God there (stop a moment to think how shocking that was to the woman). That may be the reason why Jesus has to start the statement with “Woman, believe me.”
Even though those who built the temple knew that God did not dwell in that temple (1 Kings 8:27). For a thousand years the Jews have worshiped God there and this custom has become such a force that the Jews thought that Jerusalem could be the only place to worship God.
How to Worship God
Jesus switched the question from where to how because there was an irrelevant question. Jesus said it was how and what you worship God with was the only relevant question, He said we have to worship God in spirit and in truth (this truth, I think, is not the words that people formulated from the Bible but the attitude of your heart). Some may think that we have to worship God in a certain way and use a certain ritual but these never count.
Why do we have to worship God in spirit and in truth? The reason was the Father wanted these people to worship Him. Why does God want these people to worship Him?
God is Spirit
The ultimate answer that Jesus provided was, “God is spirit.” A very simple statement of the nature of God but it solved a centuries-old debate I hope you see by now, why God wants us to worship in spirit. That is because He is spirit, and only our spirit can communicate with and worship Him. And the state of the spirit must the right, in a truthful and sincere state. And because God is spirit, He does not and cannot be limited by a physical building or place.
I hope you see the importance of knowing God. When you know God, you can see through centuries of false teachings and misinformed practices of a whole nation, and you will know how to interact with God.
The truth brought forth by Jesus, in the light of knowing Who God is, must have resonated in the hearts of many truth seekers. The woman, after hearing what Jesus said, must have thought that what He said was so right. She admitted He was right by thinking He must be the Messiah, the One Who would tell us all things. When you know God and apply what you know about Him to your life (in this case it is how we should worship), you will know how to live your life.
Not everyone accepted what Jesus said. Some held on to their traditions and other people’s teachings and rejected Jesus and His teaching. To them what He said was blasphemous. They may think that how could a tradition with such a long history, practiced by so many, and taught by so many respected people be wrong? Therefore, Jesus must be wrong.
Dear, you have a choice, follow the truth or follow what others teach, but the result will be very different.
I encourage you to seek to know God, apply what you know about Him, and dare to be different.