Jesus told the Samaritan woman that “the hour has come and now is” (vv. 21, 23) when the true worshippers are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. A clear change / transition was to transpire. While “spirit and truth” typically are interpreted to mean “sincerity and God’s Law,” I’ve suggested that such an explanation doesn’t capture the distinction.
Last time I spoke to worshipping in spirit. I suggested that because God has always demanded sincerity, this had to be something vastly different, something connected to the “living water”mentioned in the context. Such refers to: 1) We are part of a spiritual kingdom which is not tethered to or dependent upon the physical. No physical temple, priests, sacrifices, etc. 2) Those who worship the Father, per the context, 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; 7:37-39)
But what then does it mean to worship in “truth”? Again, to simply say “follow the truth” or “follow the Bible” does not address the change Jesus spoke of. It’s always been God’s will for His people to heed His Word.
Brother Lindsey Garmon in a sermon series on worship points out that the worship of the Jews and Samaritans was tethered to this earth. It was physical in substance (bound to physical things: physical temple, physical priesthood, earthly / physical high priest, etc.). The Hebrew writer speaks to this. (Heb. 9:1-5) And it was symbolic in nature (cast in copies, types and shadows of heavenly realities). Scripture says that such things were “a copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5). See also Colossians 2:16-17 and Hebrews 10:1.
So back to the question, what does it mean to worship in “truth”? To worship in truth is to worship in reality – not in symbolism! When the temple veil was rent – from top to bottom – a clear sign was sent that the old system of shadows was over. The reality had come! No longer was God to be separated from His people – He shall now dwell IN them. This friends is what makes the New Covenant so unique and wonderful. Our spiritual walk is in reality (truth). As Christians we ARE raised with Christ, who IS on the right hand of the Father. And because of the reality (truth) of His offering, our lives ARE hidden with Him in God (Col. 3:1-3).
Jesus spoke of a forthcoming time that was to be fundamentally different. That time is now. We are the priests (1 Pt. 2:9). We are the Spirit-filled temples (1 Co. 3:16; 6:19). And wherever there’s a priest and a temple there’s worship! As the apostle Paul said, “…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Co. 10:31)
You are loved,