Summary: Man’s whole concept and approach to worship is changed by Jesus in this passage.
We’re still in John 4 in the story of the Samaritan woman and Jesus at the well. Jesus has offered her the Living Water that only He can offer but there are some matters that need to be cleared up before she can truly receive this living water. Last week she was confronted with the matter of sin. We saw that she as well as we need to confess our sin and renounce it before we are able to receive Christ.
Tonight we look at the section matter—the subject of worship. READ the WHOLE PASSAGE. Man’s whole concept and approach to worship is changed by Jesus in tonight’s passage. This woman is troubled. We see that in verses 19-20.
There are 3 facts that we are shown in the following verses.
FACT ONE: The place of worship is not what is important. (v. 21)
FACT TWO: True worship and salvation are from the Jews. (v. 22)
FACT 3: True worshippers worship God in spirit and truth. (V. 23-24)
Let’s look again at verses 19-20. READ. As I said, this woman was troubled. Jesus had just confronted her with her sin, and she could either respond or react. She could have reacted by being angry, ignoring it all, neglecting the fact that she was a sinner, arguing with Jesus, or just counting it all a bunch of foolishness.
But she didn’t react. Instead, she was stirred and convicted. We can see that she sensed two things. First, she sensed that Jesus was a prophet, a man who was in touch with God. So she saw Jesus as a man who could help her.
Second, she senses her sin and the need to take care of it, to truly worship God. But the question on her mind was, “Where as she to worship?” There was a dispute about where God’s presence really was—a dispute about where a person could truly meet God.
You might remember a few weeks ago when I explained about how the Jews hated the Samaritans. They wouldn’t let them help rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem so the Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerazim. So the Samaritans believed that God’s presence was in Mount Gerizim: the Jews said He dwelt in Jerusalem.
Standing before her was the prophet who convicted her to worship. He was a prophet so He could help her and direct her. So she asked Him where to worship. Where could she find help from God?
Our lesson to learn from this is this: When a person finally realizes they are a sinner and want to repent of that sin so they can truly worship God, they need to turn to God immediately. And if they don’t know how to turn to God, they need to ask a person who is in touch with God. Hopefully that is you. And you need always be prepared to help lead them to worship, and prayer, and repentance, and salvation.
READ v. 21 again. What we see from this verse is that the place of worship is not what is important? Do you agree? Jesus is telling us here that a time is coming that would change the whole nature of worship. The way men approached God was going to experience a big eruption. Worship of God was going to radically and completely changed. What do you think Jesus was talking about?
There was an historical event coming that would change worship. He was referring to His death and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The place of worship is no longer the temple or any other particular location on earth. God’s presence now dwells in the hearts and lives of His people. His people worship Him wherever they are, and they can worship Him every day all day long.
It was Paul that wrote in 1 Cor. 6: 10-20 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”
Yes, some worship on Mt. Gerizim, some worship in Jerusalem, but the PLACE is not what is important? So what is important? What’s important is the OBJECT of worship. The worshipper needs to remember to be sure that you are worshipping the Father, God Himself.
Can someone be in the temple, or in the church sanctuary for worship and not be worshipping? Jesus said to the woman, “You worship what you don’t know.” In verse 22. For true worship to happen, a person’s whole being must be focused on the only true and living God to be truly worshipping. Let’s be honest, are you 100% focused on God during worship? Or do your thoughts wander?