“The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23
Notice the shift in categories. The woman wants to know what she can do: “Where is the right place to offer a sacrifice?” But Jesus answers in terms of what God wants her to become!
God is looking for people who will worship him “in spirit and in truth.” What does that mean?
- To worship “in spirit” means to worship from the heart—to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, to find your joy, your hope, and your peace in him.
- To worship “in truth” means to worship through the one true way of access to God (through Jesus himself). He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). It is through me that you become the kind of worshipper the Father seeks.
True worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Here is a great definition of worship from William Temple: “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God… the quickening of conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose.”
This woman has not yet realized who Jesus is. She still regards him as a prophet, and so what she hears is an impossible command: “You have to become something that you are not!”
Formal religion is easy—make a confession, say a prayer, offer a sacrifice—but how is this woman to become the kind of worshipper God seeks?
How can you become a person who loves God from the heart, and finds your peace and joy and hope and satisfaction in him?