The Place of Worship

But 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 (ESV)

According to the Gospel of John chapter 4, Jesus and his disciples were on a trip from Judea to Galilee, but Jesus needed to take a route often avoided by Jews; the land of Samaria. Their journey took them outside the city of Sychar and they rested at the place where Jacob’s well was located. Jesus’ disciples had gone into the city to buy food when a Samarian woman came to the well to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

The woman was probably somewhat shocked by Jesus’ request because Jews rarely spoke to Samaritans. Jews considered Samaritans as half-breeds and treated them with contempt. Also, Jesus was a Jewish teacher, and it was unusual for a Jewish rabbi to speak to women in public. In fact the rabbins voiced their contempt for women by teaching that they were neither to be spoken to on the street nor taught the law.

As they conversed the woman perceived Jesus to be a prophet and challenged him about the proper place of worship. Her ancestors had worshiped on Mount Gerizim while the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. (John 4:21 ESV)

Jesus’ response to her inquiry established a new order for worship in God’s kingdom. No longer would worship be relegated to a physical location nor was the location to be the focal point of worship. The proper place to worship the Father was now in spirit and truth.

It seems that a lot of our worship today is centered in the church building. Millions of dollars are spent erecting and maintaining elaborate houses of worship. Though our houses of worship are useful they cannot produce true worship nor should they be confused with the place of true worship. According to Jesus true worship takes place in spirit and truth; in the heart of the worshiper. Neither are our methods (rituals and traditions) to be the focus of our worship, nor can they produce true worship. All outward forms of worship should be the overflow of a heart that is worshiping the Father in spirit and truth. Those who are worshiping the Father in spirit and truth are the ones the Father is seeking.

Is your worship of God relegated to a physical location? Do you worship the Father in spirit and truth?

Scriptures for meditation:
Psalms 63:1-5; 73:25-26
Mark 12:30

Copyright © 2016 Steve Pruitt/JustWorship.com