It is not Where You Worship But How

Blaise Pascal observed that the people who have the greatest influence in shaping the hearts and minds of any generation are not the folks who write the laws, but those who write the songs. Plato observed, musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhyth … More


The Samaritan woman brought up a popular theological issue, the correct place of worship (v. 20). This was a smoke screen to keep Jesus away from her deepest need so Jesus directed the conversation to a much more important point. He stated that the location of the worshipers is not nearly as important as the attitude of the worshipers (vv. 21-24). “God is Spirit” (v. 24) means He is not a physical being limited to one place. John’s disciples questioned him about who the man was on the other side of the river and people were flocking to Him (v. 26). He is everywhere and He can be worshiped anywhere at any time. It is not where we worship that counts but how we worship. When the disciples came back from purchasing food they were amazed to find Jesus conversing with a woman and especially a Samaritan (v. 27). The return of the disciples apparently terminated the conversation between Jesus and the woman. She had heard enough that all evidence indicates she was beginning to drink of the Living Water (v. 25).

The woman left her water pot and went into the village to share her new faith (v. 28). Perhaps some who heard her had been partners in her sinful life. She told them that she had met “a man who told her about all the things she had ever done” (v. 29). Then she asked a question, “Could this be the Christ?” Just as Jesus had captured her attention by curiosity, so she raised these people’s curiosity. She probably knew that the people would not respond favorably to dogmatic statements from a woman and especially one of her reputation. This woman’s face must have reflected her inner conviction. As a result she persuaded not only one man but a whole company of men to go with her out of the city to see Jesus for themselves (v. 30). This points out that if we are going to convince people to come to the Lord we must portray genuine enthusiasm for what He has done for us.


It is not where I worship that is important but how I worship that counts. My worship must be genuine and true. What in my life would cause people to want to come to the Lord and worship Him?

John 4:16-30 (English Standard Version)

Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you seek?" or, "Why are you talking with her?" So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?" They went out of the town and were coming to him.

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