JN. 4:23 – God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.
Is God real to you? I am not asking you if you go to church or anything like that, I want to know if believing in God even matters. This is foundational and is the heart of everything Jesus was all about. Do you remember the way Jesus responded to the formal worship of the religious leaders of His day? He was outraged by their cold hearts. He said you have all the outward trappings of religion but there is no heart in it. Jesus was upset not because of the way they worshipped but was offended by their lack of passion. No wonder He was ministering to a Samaritan harlot, maybe she would get it even if the Pharisees did not. That’s what Jesus meant in this passage. To worship in truth means to simply worship what is real and weighty in your life. When you touch the reality of God the only response can be to worship. Here is how John Piper describes this verse.
“The Samaritans rejected all the Old Testament except their own version of the first five books. Their knowledge of God was deficient. Therefore, Jesus tells the woman that Samaritan worship is deficient. It matters whether you know the One you worship! How and whom are crucial, not where. Worship must be vital and real in the heart, and worship must rest on a true perception of God. There must be spirit and there must be truth. So Jesus says, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” The two words spirit and truth correspond to the how and whom of worship. Worshiping in spirit is the opposite of worshiping in merely external ways. It is the opposite of empty formalism and traditionalism. Worshiping in truth is the opposite of worship based on an inadequate view of God. Worship must have heart and head. Worship must engage emotions and thought.”
This is why the discussion with this woman went from husbands to worship. He was looking for what really mattered in this woman’s life. That is what He is looking for in all of our lives. What is real in your life. More than that, what matters in your life. What matters is what you will end up worshipping.