True worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. John 4:23
She finally had the chance to visit the church. Inside, in the deepest part of the basement, she reached the small cave or grotto. Candles filled the narrow space and hanging lamps illuminated a corner of the floor. There it was—a fourteen-pointed silver star, covering a raised bit of the marble floor. She was in Bethlehem’s Grotto of the Nativity—the place marking the spot where according to tradition Christ was born. Yet the writer, Annie Dillard, felt less than impressed, realizing God was much bigger than that spot.
Still, such places have always held great significance in our faith stories. Another such place is mentioned in the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well—the mountain where her “ancestors worshiped” (John 4:20), referring to Mount Gerizim (see Deuteronomy 11:29). It was sacred to the Samaritans, who contrasted it to the Jewish insistence that Jerusalem was where true worship occurred (v. 20). However, Jesus declared the time had arrived when worship was no longer specific to a place, but a Person: “the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (v. 23). The woman declared her faith in the Messiah, but she didn’t realize she was talking to Him. “Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’ ” (v. 26).
God isn’t limited to any mountain or physical space. He’s present with us everywhere. The true pilgrimage we make each day is to approach His throne as we boldly say, “Our Father,” and He is there.
What difference does it make to you knowing that God is spirit, always and ever present? What will you praise Him for in this moment?
Father, thank You for Your constant presence no matter where I am.
The events in John 4:19–26 take place in the context of Jesus asking a Samaritan woman to draw water for Him from a well (v. 7). This is significant because “Jews [didn’t] associate with Samaritans” (v. 9), and the handling of a container that had been held by a Samaritan would make Jesus ceremonially unclean. However, this doesn’t deter Him, and instead He tells the woman about her life and many husbands (vv. 16–18). That’s why she calls Him a prophet in verse 19. After Jesus explains that the location of our worship isn’t significant, the woman mentions the Messiah (v. 25). Jesus’ response in verse 26 that He’s the Messiah is a reference to God as the “I am” in the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14). In the Greek translation, the word he at the end of John 4:26 is absent and literally reads: “I am—the one who speaks to you.”