"For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshippers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth."
The Samaritan woman asked Jesus if she could drink some of the “Living Water” he was offering. He asked her to bring her husband to the well.
“But I’m not married.” She answered.
“That’s true,” Jesus said, “for you’ve been married five times and now you’re living with a man who is not your husband. You have told the truth.”
The woman said, “You must be a prophet! So tell me this: Why do our fathers worship God here on this nearby mountain, but your people teach that Jerusalem is the place where we must worship. Which is right?”
This is where I’m going to stop the conversation and say that this woman asked an intelligent theological question that would have been progressive for her time. She was seeking out something beyond her world and experiences. She wasn’t a sinful woman whom Jesus was pardoning. She was a burdened woman, familiar with suffering, filled with deep questions that she wasn’t afraid to ask.
Jesus responded, “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart. Your people don’t really know the One they worship. We Jews worship out of our experience, for it’s from the Jews that salvation is made available. From here on, worshipping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshippers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”
Time to make a list:
1) In Rabbinic tradition, “Living Water” represented the true knowledge of God; not in information, but in presence. Think about being surrounded and immersed in water – birth, baptism, cleansing. It traditionally symbolizes flow, loving-kindness, intimacy and transformation. It’s a picture of Spirit.
2) The Jewish word for the knowledge of God implies that the knowing comes from intimacy and relationship. Experience. Thus reinforcing ultimate presence in everything we encounter. (Living Water).
3) Worship means “to kiss the hand of the king (or deity), to express profound reverence, affection, and adoration.” It’s a submissive and humble posture. It’s not self-deprecating. Rather, it is the position of opening up your heart to the Divine and being available to his availability. It’s not singing. It’s an awareness and a choice.
I’ve heard it preached that God demands our worship in the sense that he requires it – his dominion and majesty feed off it and need it.
What love exists in a kiss that is demanded? What good is reverence if it is conjured up out of fear and performance to appease and be approved? Can transformation take place by force? Does domination create divine flow? Can true relationship and intimacy take place in a controlled environment?
The all-powerful, divine, unmeasurable, unknowable and mysterious God, the ground of being, the essence of life, does not NEED my worship to survive. He can get by just fine without it.
Worship is what happens in our spirit when we see God for who he really is. When we peak beneath the surface of things and search for what's really going on. It’s us saying “We see you God, right here in the midst of this.”
"Worship is our growing awareness of God’s presence in all of life.” (Rob Bell).
Divine flow. Connection. An alliance of love.
The Samaritan woman wanted to know how to get her hands on Christ’s supernatural thirst quencher, then she wanted to know how to worship properly. Jesus basically responded with:
Open hands. Open Heart. Anytime. Anywhere.
She told Jesus the truth about her life. That’s the kind of truth He seeks from us. Spirit and truth – aware and honest.
Worship is our response to the Divine. Not demanded but offered from a heart that sees God and longs to be seen by him.