The Mississippi is the largest river in North America, flowing over 2,000 miles and up to seven miles wide, yet all of that power and water is guided by two things: the right and left banks.
When you worship the Lord, it is as if powerful rivers of living water are flowing from your spirit up to God. As the right and left banks guide the Mississippi River, two guiding principles govern our worship of God: spirit and truth. You don’t need a bunch of people, dim lights, or even the style of music you prefer. Those things may impact your worship on some level, but they are not the essential elements of worship.
Worship - A response of respect at the revelation of God; acknowledges God’s worth-ship (worthiness)
In today’s passage from John 4:1-26, Jesus is walking from Judea to Galilee, passing through Samaria. At this time in history, Samaritans and Jews were at odds with one another; they had different worship styles and guidelines and they did not interact, especially if they were a rabbi and a Samaritan woman. In verse 5, Jesus sits by the well and encounters a Samaritan woman who has come to draw water from the well. Jesus begins talking to her about water, soon instructing her in verses 13-14, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Jesus is saying that we humans all have a thirst that this earth cannot satisfy. You may think, “If I do this, marry that person, accomplish this goal, or acquire that thing, then I will be truly happy,” but this simply isn’t true. We all have a spiritual longing for God and He is the only One who can give us the satisfaction, peace, and joy that we crave.
From here, Jesus steers the conversation to reveal that this woman is broken inside and living in sin. She recognizes that He is special and calls him a prophet. Then she points out the differences in the worship practices of Jews and Samaritans. What is His reply?
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 4:21-24
Jesus says that we can worship the Living God anywhere, under any condition. True worshipers only need spirit and truth, not Jerusalem, a special mountain, or a live band.
1. Worship must be Spirit-dependant.
God is a spirit and we are spirits with bodies. Your person is not your body, but your soul, your spirit, your personality. Your spirit can be grieved, can know things, and can communicate. If you body suffers in some way or has less than optimal function, this doesn’t make you any less of a person. We are spiritual beings so that we can have a relationship with Him, the utmost Spiritual Being.
Worship is a spiritual exercise, when everything that your spirit is yearns and flows toward God like the Mississippi flows toward the Gulf of Mexico. Your spirit can do things that your body can’t. You can’t touch God with your hands, but your spirit can connect with Him.
Worship is biblical. We can worship in Samaria or Jerusalem, or anywhere, because it worship is not about a place, but about the state of our spirits. We can allow our spirits to flow toward God in awe and admiration anywhere at any time—walking through the mall, driving down the street, in a church, or sitting at the kitchen table. God is over everything and He is everywhere, so you can worship Him ANYWHERE!
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. Psalm 42:1
How well do you know the Spirit?
How often do you talk to the Spirit of God?
How often do you allow the Spirit to lead you in prayer? Romans 8:26
How does the Spirit prepare you for worship?
All true worship is God-conceived and God-received.
2. Worship must be Bible-consistent.
Be truthful as you worship. As you reveal yourself, God reveals Himself. He will remind you of things about which you need to repent. He wants you to confess, be reconciled to people, be purified, and to walk in light, not in darkness.
When you pray, your spirit is way ahead of your brain. God’s truth is exposed on a spiritual level and the Spirit can’t lie. Don’t let your issues get in the way of connecting with Him and hearing His voice. Let Him see all the parts of your heart.
Just as a smoker builds up tar in the cilia and tissues of his body, causing things to not flow as they should, sin can leave spiritual “tar” in our hearts. Our issues, envy, anger, and bitterness all cause our spiritual life not to flow as it should. Make it flow again by asking God to purify your heart. We all have sin—but Jesus has given us the ability to confess to God and be made clean again.
Faith is based on truth. Romans 10:17
Love is God-obedience. 1 John 5:3
Love is based on God’s truth. 2 John 1:6
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6
Jesus’ name is the Word of God. Revelation 19:13
Jesus is the Spirit of truth. John 16:13