The People God Seeks
Read John 4:7-26
“True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be his worshipers.”
She was an outcast among outcasts. For the Jews, the Samaritans were the lowest of the low. Not only had they conflicted with the Jews politically, but they had distorted the Jewish faith, having their own version of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament), that brought them into religious conflict with the Jews. Consequently, there remained a long standing and deep hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans that was driven not just by ethnicity and politics but religion as well. But this woman, because of our immoral lifestyle was even an outcast of the Samaritans. For Jesus to talk to this woman was scandalous, for she was both a Samaritan and an adulterer.
When Christ met her at the well that day, she was living a life that was broken and in desperate need of redemption. But what should arrest our attention is the message he conveyed. In answer to her question about the proper location of worship, Christ elevated her focus to the heart of what worship is. Christ distinguishes between those who are genuine followers of God and those who are charlatans by examining their attitude and response in worship. Christ sets for the requirement for worship by pointing out that genuine worship must be done in spirit and in truth. The phrase, “to worship God in spirit” is governed by the statement that “God is spirit.” The point Christ makes is that God is invisible and not confined to the physical realm. Therefore, to worship him in spirit requires a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who makes it possible for us to know him. Which brings us to the second requirement of worship, that we must worship him in truth. Worship must be in consistent the truth of God that is both revealed in his word and in the person of Christ. When John states that Christ is the Word of God in John 1:1 he affirms that Christ is the self-revelation (i.e. The Word of God) of God to us. He became flesh so that we might know him. Christ is the truth—the full and faithful revelation of God. To worship God in truth points to the fact that we must worship through the person of Christ and our identification with him. For Christ, the redemption this woman needed was to be found only by her spiritual transformation accomplished by Christ.
But this brings us to the heart of our response to God. If Christ is the means by which we can relate to God, then worship of God is the necessary outcome. To truly experience the redemptive work of Christ is to be brought into the heart of worship. Christ is the connecting link between us and God, but worship remains the ultimate response. God’s purpose for us is not just found in our salvation from hell and its punishment, it is found in the lifelong worship of him.
This is what makes the absence of genuine worship in our life so tragic. In our failure to genuinely and continually worship, we miss out on God’s purpose for us. If we are to thrive in the midst of the challenges of our day, we can only do so when worship becomes the continual expression of our heart. The more we worship God, the more we realize the meaning of relationship with him. If you want to experience the full enjoyment of God, learn to worship him. Make worship central to your life, for that is God’s will for you.