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Summary: A message about the purpose of worship. Do you ever wonder why you come to church and do this thing called worship week after week?

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John 4:4-30

4He had to go through Samaria on the way. 5Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. 7Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 8He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

9The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

10Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

11“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water? 12And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his cattle enjoyed?”

13Jesus replied, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. 14But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

15“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to haul water.”

16“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

17“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now.”

19“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

21Jesus replied, “Believe me, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans know so little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23But the time is coming and is already here when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship him that way. 24For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

25The woman said, “I know the Messiah will come—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”

27Just then his disciples arrived. They were astonished to find him talking to a woman, but none of them asked him why he was doing it or what they had been discussing. 28The woman left her water jar beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone, 29“Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?” 30So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

[Thanks to Joel Smith’s sermon on this text and other illustrations in Sermon Central for helping to develop this message.

PowerPoint and audience outline available]

(Discuss results of recent worship survey)

Today I’m going to talk about the purpose of my worship. Do you ever wonder why you come here and do this thing called worship week after week? Just to get started I’m going to ask you to think a time something funny happened in worship. Does anything come to mind?

How about this story?

The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church. The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate. In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle. There wasn’t a hitch.

The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached. Everything still moved like clockwork.

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