God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in sprit and truth.
Friend to Friend
In John 4, we see a tired Jesus who stopped to rest at Jacob’s well where He begins a conversation with a Samaritan woman, ignoring the cultural, racial, and social norms of that day. (Jews did not associate with Samaritans and often tried to avoid Samaria all together on their journeys. In addition to that, respectable Jewish men did not talk women whom they didn’t know.) But Jesus was not concerned with public opinion. He was on a mission of mercy.
The woman’s name is never mentioned, but He knew it.
He knew not only her name, but also her insecurities, her reputation, her fears, her failures, and her needs.
Jesus asked this unnamed woman for a drink, then engaged her in a meaningful and purposed conversation. They talked of practical thirst, and then Jesus spoke of living water that satisfies eternally.
Not realizing who in the world she was talking to or what He was really chatting about, this woman asked for a full-to-the-tippy-top jar of living water so she would never be thirsty again. “Show me the money, Jewish man. I want some of that water because I am SO over making these constant trips to the well.” (Bless her! I mean, who wouldn’t want that? I get this woman. If I never had to buy groceries again I would be one happy girl!)
Then, in order to lovingly introduce this thirsty girl to the Living Water she longed for, Jesus redirected the conversation and asked her to go call her husband and come back (v. 16). Why? Because she didn’t have a husband and He knew it. She’d had lover after lover.
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.” (John 4:17-18)
He called her out. As light invades darkness, this conversation instantly went from veiled and casual to exposed and personal. I imagine that she squirmed like crazy under her covering as she acknowledged that this man must be a prophet. Uncomfortable, she tried to change the subject by talking about religion instead of her rebellion. She told him,
“Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus replied, “believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:19-24).
What did Jesus mean by saying we must worship God in TRUTH? The root word for truth in this verse is alēthia, which means, “hiding nothing”. [i] So, to worship God in truth means that we are to come before Him, hiding nothing. It means that we must bare all to the One who sees and knows all. It means that we should come as we are, allowing our stained hearts to be made white as snow in the presence of our holy God who dwells in unapproachable light.
Friend, God is not looking for us to be religious and He certainly knows all about the rebellion that we try to hide. He knows when you flirt with that married man at work or with an old boyfriend on Facebook. He knows when you secretly put away shopping bags and throw away receipts before your husband gets home. He knows when you are sexually intimate with that boyfriend. He knows when you surrender to eating that entire bag of potato chips, when you cut yourself to anesthetize the pain, when you make yourself throw up after meals. He knows about that affair. He knows when gossip dances on your lips, and when your heart hangs on to unforgiveness, jealousy, anger, deceit, hatred, and ugliness.
He knows it ALL, and in His knowing He invites you to bring what is hidden into the Light so that you can to experience His restoring grace.
And then he calls us to more.
He calls us to a vulnerable, honest faith. To worship Him in humble awareness of our depravity, but with a sacred awareness of His grace and unfailing love that binds us to forgiveness, restoration, healing, peace, hope and joy.
Today, let’s worship Him in spirit and in truth – hiding nothing.
Holy Father, Oh, how I try to hide! Forgive me. Please fill me with Your living water and help me to know and live out Your truth. Lead me with Your Spirit, today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
READ 1 Peter 5:6-7. Write it down in your journal or on a 3×5 index card. Consider what this would look like for you. If you’re ready to stop hiding in worship, I sure would love to hear about it and pray for you. Click here to leave a comment on my blog.