Opening Scripture:

Read John 4 – The Samaritan woman at the well


John 4:19-24  The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in 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 an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

After the death of Solomon, Israel splits with the Jews in the south and the Samaritans in the north. When Assyria attacked and conquered Samaria, they began to intermarry and took their idols but held onto the Jewish God. They held onto the first 5 books of the Old Testament as being God’s Word. Consequently, they had a partial understanding about God which is what Jesus references in verse 22.

John 4:22  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

The interaction with Jesus begins with water and ends up talking about worship.

John 4:15-20  The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

Her attention turns to worship which is perhaps the greatest difference between the Jews and the Samaritans.

If you give me 10 minutes talking with a stranger and I can almost immediately tell you what they worship, which also tells me about who they worship.

John 4:21-23  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in 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 an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

True worship is not about the place, it’s about the person. We were created for worship but what we worship is determined by what we know. Samaritans had a fractured view of Christ; their partial understanding perverted their fear of worshipping the true God.

Do you know someone with a fractured view of Christ? An imperfect understanding of who Christ is has led to a resistance of to following Him.

This was more than just about who God was for this Samaritan; it was also about who was representing Him.

John 4:23  But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.

Notice there is no separation between these two: Spirit and Truth. But this is where I feel the church has drawn a line; the Word camp questions emotions; the Spirit camp questions questions. Neither lacks sincerity for what they are doing.

It was Jesus’ point to the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you do not know.” I believe He was talking about true knowing, knowing Him, knowing His character, and His love.

It was the same conversation He had with His disciples.
Matthew 16:13-15   Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

This is the truth part of our worship of Him.

Unless we have knowledge of who He is, we cannot worship Him in truth. We get that truth from the truth of God’s Word.

What we believe about Him determines everything about how we come to Him.

It was the truth of who Christ was that drew so many people to Him: His grace, mercy, compassion, and love for the lost.

Truth without the Spirit results in a dry pointless encounter that can become a joyless legalism. However, the Spirit without truth leads to an overly emotional experience that once the emotion is gone, so is the worship. The combination though results in a joyous appreciation of God informed by Scripture.

The more we know about God the more we appreciate Him. The more we appreciate, the deeper our worship. The deeper our worship, the more God is glorified.

John 4:39  Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Transformation begins with worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth.
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Questions:

1. What is this story truly about?
2. Is worship about a place or a specific expression?
3. Why are people hesitant to worship God?
4. How do you know if you are worshipping God in spirit and in truth?

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