There was a woman drawing water from a well. While she was at the well, Jesus approached her and began a conversation with her. Jesus began by asking her for water. Using this opportunity, He begins to present the idea of salvation through the living water. Through the course of conversation, this woman’s sins were revealed. Much like many of us when we are caught doing something wrong, she shifts the conversation to worship by asking a question. Now, let’s pick up here in the scripture.
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:19-24 (NKJV)
The culture that this woman was from had a tradition of worshiping in the mountains, while the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem. The response that Jesus gives is our focus today, to worship in spirit and truth. All too often, we define worship to be what we want and where we want it to be. All of my adult life, I have had the privilege of working in youth ministry. One of the biggest problems that I have seen is students claiming that they cannot worship in the adult services because the music is boring. I do my best to explain to the students that if they truly love God, then they will worship in spirit and truth. The music doesn’t matter.
The shoe fits on the other foot as well, you know. I have heard adults claim that modern worship music is noise and does not honor God. I know that God made us all different, and we all have our preferences, but who are we to say what worship pleases God and what worship does not? I, myself, am guilty of saying, I can’t worship at that church, but I can at another. The women was asking where is the proper place to worship, and Jesus responded “in spirit and truth.” If we truly love God, then we should be able to worship him regardless of where we are and what style of music is there. Worship is about where our heart is, NOT where our bodies are. Speaking of hearts, I love the worship song, “The Heart Of Worship.” You may have heard the song, but have you heard the story behind the song? Matt Redman wrote the song after his pastor had stripped away all of the instruments and the bells and whistles that we feel are necessary for worship. Matt recalls that the congregation sang acapella, and you could really sense the presence of God. He sat down following this experience and wrote the song. Here are a few words from the song.
When the music fades
and all has slipped away
and I simply come.
Longing just to bring
something that’s of worth
that will bless Your heart.
I’ll bring You more than a song,
for a song in itself
is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within,
through the way things appear,
Your looking into my heart.
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and its all about You, its all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
when its all about You, its all about You, Jesus.
God is seeking for a generation of believers who are not focused on where they are physically during worship, are they are focused on where their heart is during worship. Let’s be true worshipers today. Let us clear the stage of the things that distract us from worship and go back to the heart of worship, where its all about God and not about us. If you are searching for a place to worship God, I believe you will find that place in the depths of your heart.
God, teach us how to worship. Teach us the type of worship that is honoring to you, and help us remove the distractions from our lives so that we can be true worshipers. God, show us where our hearts are for worship, and we pray that our worship is a sweet smelling aroma to you. God, we give you all the honor, the glory and the praise. In your son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.