SwindollStudyBible-John - Page 23

J ohn  4 : 1 8
God Seeks Our Worship
JOHN 4:1-26
JE SUS, A JE WISH MAN, sits down beside a well in Samaria in the hot noonday sun
and starts talking to a Samaritan woman. This may seem like no big deal to us, but in this
culture and time period, it was absolutely scandalous. Why? First, it’s unusual that a Jewish
man would even be in ­Samaria—­Jews avoided that area because Samaritans were historically considered “­half-­breeds” rather than pure Jews. Jews would even go around the
entire Samaritan territory if they had to get from Judea to Galilee. Second, it was out of the
ordinary that a man would be talking to an unknown woman.
Yet when Jesus is sitting beside this well and a woman comes along with her water
pot, He asks her for a drink. She’s surprised that He even speaks to her, and then Jesus
tosses out a line sure to make her curious: “If you only knew the gift God has for you and
who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).
The words have the desired effect, and Jesus and the woman begin a conversation about
spiritual matters. When Jesus tells her to get her husband, she
replies that she doesn’t have one. Jesus knows not only that she
doesn’t have one but also that she has already had five! She’s
turns our full
suddenly exposed. She doesn’t even know this man, and He is tellattention to
ing her the private details of her life. Guilt has wrapped itself around
the only One
her. She’s uncomfortable, and she’s embarrassed.
In her uneasiness, the Samaritan woman decides to change
worthy of it.
the subject. She asks why the Jews say Jerusalem is the only place
to worship God while the Samaritans claim that the right place is actually Mount Gerizim,
which stood right behind them. Jesus clarifies that worship is no longer connected with
a ­place—­Jerusalem, a mountain, wherever. Look at His words in John 4:21: “Believe me,
dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the
Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” He goes further. He has the audacity to tell her
that she is not connecting with the living God: “True worshipers will worship the Father in
spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). He clarifies that worship is not a mystical groping in the dark
in hopes of reaching some deity that may or may not be listening. It is a clear, definitive,
conscious connection with the living God. In fact, He goes on to say, “The Father is looking
for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must
worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
What a great thought: God seeks our worship.
So that brings us to a question: What is worship? It is attributing supreme worth to God,
who alone is worthy of it. When we worship, that’s what we’re doing.
The purpose of the church is to cultivate worshipers. It isn’t a place to make business
contacts or to go to check something off the weekly list or to bring your kids so they get
something out of it. No, it’s a place to learn about our God so that our worship and understanding of Him become increasingly deeper and more meaningful. It’s a place where we
give Him our praise and our gratitude.
Why is worship so important? Because it turns our full attention to the only One
worthy of it.

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