â€œOur fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you |Jews| say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.â€
Jesus told her, â€œBelieve Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.â€
The woman said to Him, â€œI know that Messiah is comingâ€ (who is called Christ). â€œWhen He comes, He will explain everything to us.â€â€ (John 4:20-25 HCSB)
The question about where to worship is crucial to the Old Testament. Yet with these words Jesus renders the question irrelevant.
Itâ€™s no longer to be about place: God the Father desires worshippers who will worship in spirit and truth. The Father desires worship that is appropriate to his nature. What good is worship that by its form betrays ignorance of the one being worshipped?
We might reveal in the praises of people who donâ€™t know us, knowing full well that if the details of our lives and failures were to become public, the praise would be quickly diminished. But the more we come to know God the more capable we are of worshipping him fully. He is good all the way through.
The worshipper in â€˜spirit and truthâ€™ approaches God in a manner that demonstrates the he or she really knows God.
Itâ€™s the kind of worship that is only possible once the Father has been revealed to the worshipper by the Son.
God is Spirit, as such, he is not bound by location. This was recognised by Solomon in his dedication of the Temple.
â€œBut will God indeed live on earth? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain You, much less this temple I have built.â€ (1 Kgs 8:27 HCSB)
Yet it was in the temple that God chose to meet with his people and accept their worship.
The Jesus we meet through Johnâ€™s Gospel is in a continual tension, almost rivalry with the temple. Early in the narrative we are told that the Christ understood his own body to be the replacement for the temple,
â€œTherefore the Jews said, â€œThis sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?â€
But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made.â€ (John 2:20-22 HCSB)
The place where God chooses to meet with his people is now in the person of his Son.
â€œThe Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.â€ (John 1:14 HCSB)