The Samaritan woman had discoursed with Jesus about her life. This portion of Scripture begins with discernment, "Sir I see that You are a prophet." That was worship and reverence. Worship is recognizing Who God is and what he represents.
She then added, "Our fathers worshipped (past tense) on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place we must worship (present tense) is in Jerusalem." The Samaritans had a past experience of worship and it was mountain worship. It was not the true worship because it was based on past tradition. The Jews on the other hand had a present experience of worship- in Jerusalem. It was the center of worship- the dwelling place of God.
Jesus declared, "A time is coming when the standard of worship will change. It will neither be on this mountain nor in Jerusalem." The present standard of worship had a limit to it and it smacked of formality. It was routine and had many loopholes. It could be abused and was religious.
Jesus added, "You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know." Why? The Samaritans were a mixed breed; the Jews were the pure breed- a chosen people. They knew God as Sovereign. The Samaritans knew other gods and had no full history of God.
Do you know whom you worship? "Who is He and what is the Name of His Son? Tell me if you know?" these are the words of a concerned king. We need to know whom we worship lest we get formal and lose our focus. The Jews had personal experiences with God. He had been the God they were taught about all the days they lived. He was the One who had delivered them countless times, the One they pilgrimaged to Jerusalem for. They had a historical/personal and spiritual understanding of God. He was real to them. How real is God to you? Do you understand Him; have you a history with Him?
He added, "For salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and His worshippers must worship in Spirit and truth."
Jesus takes us away from the thinking that worship must be in objects or places. It is all about God. We must know who God is and worship thus. We must seek Him as Spirit and worship Him. God is not a man He is spirit. Once we recognize that fact we can approach Him in truth. God seeks intimacy with His own and He has prescribed a standard, "My worshippers must worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH." There is no worship if it is not done in spirit and in truth. We will be joking and wasting our time.
Jesus says, "Worship belongs to God and not to man, not mountains or cities. Yes in the past that's how it was done. But you have lost it. You have shifted the focus away from Me. I was once there so that you could have it easy. But now salvation has come- salvation from your useless rituals and ancestral expectations. It's time for a new standard of worship.
I Am Spirit and when you come to Me approach Me from that dynamic and perspective. It is useless to come and try and connect physically. You will fail in the flesh. Come as the image of God and let our spirits fellowship and interact. For centuries I have sought fellowship and found none. I Am tired of your offerings without spiritual attachment. I Am tired of your once-a-year fellowship. I want unrestricted 24-hour union and fellowship with you. It's not about the songs or the way you sing them. It's about your heart. It's about your approach play.
It's about the truth that shall liberate you. Now is the time when you should approach Me in Spirit and in truth. Anything less than that is wrong. Jesus is the Way to me. He is the Truth and ultimately as you worship correctly, you will get the Life. He is the One who links you and Me as the source of salvation. As such he will correct your standards and show you the correct way."
Jesus reproved the old ways of worship. He saw the deficiencies and set a new standard that would forever change the world- ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP.
And the woman confessed, "I know that the Messiah called Christ is coming. When He comes He will explain everything to us." She was convicted but not convinced and thus waited for Christ to explain true worship. Praise God she needed wait no more because then Jesus declared:
"I Who speak to you Am He!"
The Messiah has explained the true way of worship. We should walk in it both now and evermore.
dumi nkomo is an upcoming writer from bulawayo, zimbabwe. he is a member of the methodist church in zimbabwe and is a pastor in training. he is currently working on a book entitled sons and sonship that takes a look at the impact biblical sons have on our day to day life.