"God is spirit and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Yesterday, we met the Samaritan woman at the well. If you haven't had a chance to read yesterday's devotional, please read John 4:1-42.
Jesus rested from His travels in a town of Samaria called Sychar (at the well that Jacob had given Joseph). A woman came during the hottest part of the day to collect water. Jesus asked her for some water and she immediately called Him out for going against culture because He (a Jew) spoke to her (a Samaritan woman.) The conversation that took place was only a few verses long, but hold Texas-sized importance.
Jesus asked the woman, "Go, call your husband and come back."
The woman dodged the command and answered with a half-truth, "I have no husband."
Jesus pointed out her half-truth by acknowledging that He knew her past and her current situation.
"You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
Again, the woman deflects by telling Jesus she can tell He is a Prophet. I like the way the Message version puts it:
"Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?"
I hear sarcasm in her voice. I can't help but feel she is trying to set Him up with that leading question.
"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth"
Okay...what on earth does that mean??
Again, I looked up the Message version:
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4:20-25, MSG
Suddenly, it made so much more sense...the deflections of the woman, the half-truths, her questioning Him about something seemingly unrelated...I would hazard a guess that she was responding out of a defensive nature, ready for His sharp condemnation of her past and current living conditions. She was most likely no stranger to condemnation and hostility.
But Jesus met her right where she was. Instead of being "tripped up" by her question of where the "correct" place was to worship, He explained that how she was to worship is what God looks at.
This woman, who was perhaps lying to herself as much as Jesus (and who knows who else she encountered on a daily basis), to avoid shame and ridicule, had her eyes opened to the necessity to stop lying about who she was. In order to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, we must be blatantly honest with God...and with ourselves.
Is there something in your life that you aren't being honest about? Is there something that you need to own up to before God or even to yourself?
If you notice, Jesus didn't offer one bit of condemnation to her about her infidelity, her many husbands, or her sin. He simply offered her the way to truly connect with God.
He will do the same for us when we go to Him and ask Him to reveal any areas of our lives where we aren't being completely honest.
It's God's desire to know us on a personal, intimate level. He wants for us to hide nothing from Him. Because, truly, there is nothing we can hide from Him anyway.
If you have not already downloaded the Scripture overview and Study Guide from yesterday, you can do so HERE. These are simple items to help reinforce what we're learning and to aid in scripture memorization.
This devotional written by Mandy.
Focus on this today: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."