“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4.23-24).
Jesus spoke these powerful words that reveal one of the highest of Heaven’s secrets. It wasn’t to His disciples He revealed this beautiful truth, but to the most unlikely person — a woman of ill repute. Most religious people would not want to have been seen speaking to her. The whole town knew what she was. And Jesus did too. He was not caught by surprise; He purposely passed through “enemy territory” because He was on a mission — a mission to meet one wayward, hurting woman, who was looking for love. And He was not afraid, nor ashamed to lose His reputation, because He had agape love. It takes Divine love to reach the rejects of society, to hold out our hands to them, and to be able to look beyond their outward appearance, and see their hearts.
Jesus knew her. That is why He said to her, “Go, call thy husband, and come back here. ” When she told him, “I have no husband, ” Jesus said to her, “That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough!” (John 4:17-18 MSG). She immediately recognized that He was no ordinary man — He was a prophet of God. He had won her respect.
Year after year, she had seen thousands of people pass through Samaria on their way to worship the Lord in Jerusalem during all of the Great Feast Days. Something in her heart was searching for truth, for reality, and most of all for satisfaction. She saw her own Samaritan priests offer sacrifices on their mountain, and saw their traditional ceremonies of worshipping God — but always in her heart there was this deep hunger, this great searching for truth. Now she knew that she had found it in THIS MAN. And He knew that she knew, and believed. That was when she asked Jesus the question that had always been in her heart since she was a little girl, and had seen the people joyfully going up to Jerusalem. Many times, she wanted to join with them, and experience what they felt. She heard their songs of praise; they stirred her heart to know God, like they did. But when she asked her priests, they told her that they were the only ones who had the true place to worship God. Now, she felt This Prophet would know the answer to her life-long quest. She said to Him, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye [Jews] say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
That is when He gave her one of the Greatest Secrets of Heaven. He told her it was not where we worship God that is important, but how we worship Him! Worship is not an outward show of religious zeal, but a matter of the heart.
True worship comes from the innermost part of our being — the soul, the spirit of the eternal me. When my body lies in its grave, I will still be worshipping Him. I will worship My Heavenly Father, Who, never for even one moment of my life on earth has ever stopped loving me — when I was good, and when I was bad, when I was right, and when I was wrong, when I was strong in faith, and when I was filled with fear and doubting.
When I see Him, I will fly into His eternal arms; I will cry tears of joy — that could even be the highest form of worship, not singing, not dancing, not shouting, not loud praises, not much bowing down — but just those silent tears of joy that come from my heart, soul, and spirit, overflowing with gratitude and praise to Him for His goodness to me, His mercy on me, and His protection and love for Me. Oh, there is so much to thank Him for! No words can speak what the heart feels. Tears speak louder, more eloquently than ten thousand words, for tears are the picture of what the spirit is trying to express, but the mouth is incapable of uttering.
The greatest gift you can give God, if you truly love Him, is worship that comes from the depth of your soul that is aflame with love for God — so great, that you can feel the pain of that soul-love. This is true worship. You don’t need to bring Him great wealth, make long journeys to any temple, sit through long sermons that wear you out, read every religious book that is written, wear certain types of garments, observe many rituals and traditional ceremonies and laws, crawl on your knees to Rome or, as the Tibetans do, prostrate yourself inch by inch in a pilgrimage to some temple in Lhasa — or even drive a hundred miles to some favourite church every Sunday — you just need to love Him so much that to think about Him, makes you feel like crying.
I have met precious souls of other religions on the mission field who love God with all their hearts. They are looking for Him, like the woman at the well in Samaria. They rise early every morning, while yet dark, to worship “the unknown God,” whom they love — they just don’t know His Name!
I have spent most of my life telling those precious peoples in many nations, that I know the true God for Whom they are seeking, and that He sent me to tell them that He loves them, and died for their sins, and wants to take them to His Home in Heaven, so they can be forever with Him. I have taught them how to worship Him, and love Him with all their hearts. And I know I will meet many of them when I get there, where together, we will worship Him forever and ever. Amen!
P.S. I have had the privilege of standing at Jacob’s well, and drinking its water. The well was dug by Father Jacob and his sons circa 3850 years ago. It is nine feet in circumference and seventy-five feet deep–—I threw a stone into it, and it took a long time for it to reach the water. The well is still there in Samaria. The water was cool and sweet. As I drank from that well, I thought about the woman who gave our Beloved Jesus water to drink from that well, so long ago, and I prayed that God would use me to bring Living Water to a thirsty world. Almost fifty years have passed since I prayed that prayer in 1961.
He Sent Me Back to Tell You by Gwen Shaw
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