In Spirit and Truth
John 4 records Jesus’ meeting with the “woman of Samaria.” She is never named, but the conversation she had with Jesus changed her life and the lives of the villagers of Sychar. The dialogue is lengthy and that is good for us because many gospel truths are related here.
Jesus was traveling from Judea north to Galilee, which meant he had to go through Samaria if he took the direct route. I say “direct route” because many Jews would go around Samaria so as not to be “defiled.” The Samaritans were the people of the ten Northern tribes who intermarried with gentiles over the centuries after being conquered by ancient Assyria. They were hated by the Jews as a racially and culturally mixed people. Jesus came to a well and rested there. When a Samaritan came to draw water, and a woman at that, he asked her for a drink. (Ironically, the well in the Old Testament served as the place where boy meets girl, who later marry. Here, Christ meets woman and betroths her to the true God.) She was shocked asking why he, a Jew, would ask her, a Samaritan, for a drink. As usual in John’s gospel, Jesus wastes no time. Jesus tells her of living water from which one will never thirst again, which will become a spring within welling up unto eternal life. In 7:37-39, Jesus spoke of this water saying, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive,” which happened on the day of Pentecost. So he tells this woman of things to come, and that soon neither Jews nor Samaritans would worship God at certain places. Why? Because God is spirit, and seeks those who will worship him in spirit and in truth.
The remaining of the account tells of his disciples’ surprise at Jesus speaking to a woman, his informing them that the fields were ripe for harvest, and the woman’s report to the villagers who later agree with her that this man is the Christ. This woman became one of the Church’s first evangelists. But let us move on to the meat of the passage: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” We have spoken of integrity before, that God demands worship unalloyed with sexual uncleanness, personal injustice, and hearts full of wrath, malice, greed, selfishness, etc. We just read that the one who believes in Jesus will have living water welling up unto eternal life. This speaks of a person whose relationship with the Lord is ever growing and producing fruit, such that his worship is a daily walk with God, growing in grace. May our worship ever be in spirit and truth.