Bible Verse: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

Scripture Reading: John 4:1-26

What is the deep satisfaction I seek?

In his waterside conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus links the deep satisfaction we seek to who we worship. What is worthy of the bowing of our knee? This is the big question of life.

What is true worship? It is not a ritual, song or a form. It is something entirely different. It is this difference which surprises the woman at the well as Jesus calls her, and us, to true worship. The Lord says that worship is of the Spirit and truth. God is Spirit, Jesus clarifies. God is not bound by human constructs. We want to follow the “letter of the law” when the law is meant to point us to the “spirit of the law.” After all, one can follow the letter of the law without having a spirit that is true and genuine.

A healthy society can only function by the rule of law, but the human being can only be fully alive when they come in touch with the spirit of the law. It is this touching of the mysterious and true depth within us that ultimately makes a society whole and transformative. After all, don’t we want to live in a world where people do what is right not because they have to, but because they want to?

So, says Jesus, God is Spirit. God is not bound by human constructs. He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnipresent (all places). True worshippers are awake to this reality and respond with a non-compartmentalized life-response of surrender and satisfaction.

To the surprise of the Samaritan woman, the God of the Jews was for her people too! God is inclusive; welcomes all people from all kinds of backgrounds and life-situations. Yet, at the same time, God is exclusive: he seeks a specific worshipper. The types of worshipers God seeks are those who relate to him as though he were all knowing, all powerful, and all present. Who come to him who is Spirit fully surrendered and fully true. God is not bound by my ethnicity, my religious or irreligious story, or by my mistakes. But, my access to God is bound when I fail to come to him in truth – out of the honesty of repentance, of poverty of spirit, and the reality that my inner depths – my spirit – are known to him.

True worship is the honest, unpretentious life-response of a person to the mysterious reality of the God who is. The God revealed in Jesus, who said to the startled woman at the well who was seeking deep satisfaction, “I who speak to you am he” (John 4:26).

I’m not going anywhere today God is not. How will I enter every space as a true worshipper?

— Phil Wagler, Promise Keepers Canada

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