John 4:23-24 – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NKJV
Going through the motions, even emotions, in a corporate gathering does not necessarily mean you have truly worshipped. You may have gotten goosebumps and been overcome with emotion but that does not necessarily mean you truly worshipped. You may have conducted an elaborate service with all the pomp and ceremony with beauty and pageantry but that does not necessarily mean you truly worshipped. You may physically go without food in the name of worship but that does not necessarily mean you truly worshipped. It may have only been a form and ritual producing no real life spiritually.
This woman was expressing her confusion and concern over the different methods and manners of worship between her people and the Jews and Jesus addressed True Worship. If we understand His words in verse 24, “God is Spirit…” we will be better able to grasp what He is saying in verse 23, “…true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…”
In Matthew 15:9 Jesus addressed ceremonial attempts at worship declaring, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.” He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8 saying, “These people draw near Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”
God is Spirit! He is not confined to a body as we. He is everywhere present all the time. It is in our spirit that we relate to God and as Romans 8:16 declared it is the Holy Spirit that bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God. In John 3:5 we find the declaration of our LORD that in order to enter the Kingdom we must be “born of water and the Spirit.” Remember the words of Jesus in John 7:38, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
It is out of the innermost being (spirit) that we truly connect with God. As God permeates our hearts (spirits) we find that our souls (mind, will, and emotions) are deeply affected and our bodies are brought into alignment with the desire of the heart. No wonder David, the man God identified as a man after His own heart, would pray in Psalm 51:10-11, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast (right) spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” He goes on to cry out for the Joy of God’s Salvation to be rekindled in his heart. He understood that he connected to God at the deepest level in his spirit and therefore sought to Worship God in Spirit and Truth.
Jesus’ statement to this woman dispels the idea that worship can only take place in a House of Worship (Church Building). It is from the heart (spirit) that true worship flows and that flow should be continual, consistent, and even constant. We are told to pray without ceasing and the message of the Bible is also to Worship God without ceasing.
It is not external stimuli that enable you to worship but the condition of your heart. It is the life within your spirit that comes from connection with the Spirit of God that produces worship. Wherever you are, wherever you are, and in whatever circumstances you find yourself seeking to Truly Worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords the Giver of Life.
May God be with you as you go through this day and teach you to truly worship! Blessings abundant is my prayer and desire for you!