In the Lord’s conversation with the Samaritan woman, it’s critical that we catch the distinction He makes. Jesus says, “the hour has come and
The requested URL /startup/o/getlinks1.php was not found on this server.now is” (vv. 21, 23); thus, He is speaking of something that was anticipated and different. True worshippers are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. So what does it mean to worship “in spirit.” As I said last time, for us to suggest the it’s a reference to sincerity completely misses the newness of what Jesus is announcing. It has ALWAYS been the case that people are to be sincere - to have their “heart engaged” in worship. While sincerity is necessary, this must be a reference to something more.
I would suggest that we start with the context. What is this whole conversation about at the well? Is it not water? In fact it concerns not only water, but what the Lord called “living water” which He clearly identified as the Holy Spirit (Jn. 7:37-39). Doubtlessly, this “living water” is a reference to how the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant will personally inhabit the Lord’s people, the church. “Or do you not know,” Paul says, “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Co. 6:19-20)
The fact of that indwelling - the Lord’s personal presence among His people - is a key to understanding the Lord’s words. Jesus, if you look back over John 4 and His words to the woman, said nothing of a physical place to worship. Today there is no physical temple. There are no physical sacrifices. We have no physical priests. And there is no earthly high priest - Jesus is our High Priest and He’s in heaven with the Father.
In fact, we are the temple (1 Co. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19) AND the priests (1 Pt. 2:9). Remember, the wall of partition of the temple was rent (from top to bottom) and the people of God are no longer separated from God’s presence. There has been, as the Lord predicted, a fundamental shift in worship.
So, back to the question: what does it mean to worship “in spirit”? The answer is essentially twofold: 1) There is no longer the institutional / physical emphasis on things. No physical temple, priests, sacrifices, etc. It’s a spiritual kingdom which is not tethered to or dependent upon the physical. 2) Those who worship the Father are to do so having imbibed the “living water.” They are spirit-filled believers who have been, as Jesus told Nicodemus, “born of the water and the Spirit.”(Jn. 3:5)
While you and I of course need to be sincere, if you are a Christian you ARE worshipping “in spirit.” More to come.
You are loved,