20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Thoughts: Worship is not a matter of place, but always a matter of the heart and of worshipping the right God. The Temple in Jerusalem and the Samaritan Temple would soon be destroyed (70 AD). Samaritan worship had major elements of truth in it, but also had ideas brought in by the gods of the people who were replanted in the area (Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, Sepharvaim 2 Kgs 17:24,29-33). 2 Kiings 17:33 says this biting statement: "They worshipped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought." Syncretism is a danger of a time when people elecate tolerance over truth, as in our day. The other danger is not worshipping at all. People are fooling themselves who say they are worshipping God on the lake while fishing, or on the golf course making a put. Those who say it doesn't matter where or how you worship are missing the mark. But those who narrow their worship beyond the prescriptions of the Bible are also taking away from worship. The worship wars today are about styles of music. Ironically, scripture doesn't prescribe any particular style- but is open to hymns, tunes, and spiritual songs. Worship is gathering in truth and in spirit.
Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to give my heart to you. Let me not be consumed with style as much as I am consumed with you.
John Calvin Abridged: "You worship what you do not know"- This is worthy of remembering and teaches us that we should not do anything at worship randomly or rashly: because unless there is knowledge it is not God we worship but worship idols. All good intentions are struck by this sentence-as by a thunderbolt, for apart from the expressed Word of God-guided by our own opinion- we err. What does it mean to worship God in spirit and truth? It means to lay aside all the entanglements of old ceremonies and retain what is spiritual in the worship of God.