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.”
Knowing God truly is will cause us to worship Him. God has created all things for His own glory. The most important activity that can occupy a creation is to worship its creator. God reveals even more of Himself in the grace which He extends.
We need to focus not only the doctrine of the worshipping church but also the practice of the worshipping church. Or, in other words, how does God expect the church to worship Him.
The Samaritan women in John 4 appeals to a specific argument of the day, specifically who is right? There was a fight between the Samaritan and the Jews. This same fight about who is right goes on today. We see in these verses that it matters not who is right, but what does God consider right.
Jesus solves this issue. He begins by revealing who God is. God is spirit. An argument concerning a physical place is not relevant because God is spirit.
“The hour is coming and now is…” What was different about this specific time? It was the fact that God had become man and was walking among the people. And it was Jesus Christ who would further reveal God to the true worshippers.
What does Jesus mean about worshipping in spirit and in truth? Notice the “But” in v.33. There was error in the thinking of the Samaritans. And up to that time, there was correctness in the thinking of the Jews. But all that is now changing. True worship is not about a physical place and physical means. It is a spiritual transaction and spiritual interaction.
What about truth? The Samaritan worship was not built on truth. There was no truth in the gods set up on Mount Gerazim. The Jewish worship was built upon the truth. God had revealed Himself and the Jews sought to worship according to this truth. God is seeking for worshippers who will worship Him according to the truth revealed about God, and specifically as revealed through Jesus Christ. There has been a greater revelation of truth, and those who would worship God must worship in this greater revealed truth.
Practically, this has outworkings in our worship today. Such as in our hymnody. Our hymns should be characterized by spirit and truth. And our singing must be in spirit and in truth. However, it is easy for us to end up in error at one end or the other – worshipping in spirit but not in truth, or vice versa. Also, it is possible for our worship to have neither spirit nor truth. It could be our heart is in love with the world or with self. This means we need to spend the time to prepare our hearts and our minds for worship instead of entering into worship in a flippant, unprepared manner. I must make sure that I am worshipping in spirit and in truth.