Introduction: World of Worship.
We see from Proverbs 9.4 & 16 that the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world both call out in a similar fashion. Everywhere we turn something in our world is calling us to come find joy, fulfillment, happiness, and so much more. The world says if it is just a meaningful relationship you are looking for then log on to our dating site. If you want a way to just have a good time then drink this or eat that. If you really want fulfillment, to feel like you are making a difference in the world then pursue this career path. If you want to be able to do what you want or get what you want then make sure you have enough money for it all. We believe all these things will bring us true joy.
Friends, all of these are a call to worship. Deep down in our souls we long to worship. We want to find happiness, fulfillment, meaning, true everlasting joy. All of these externals things calling to us are fueled by the desires inside of us. Take for instance the woman at the well. She lived in a culture that promised her if she could find a solid husband she would be safe, secure, take care of, happy. It was not safe in this culture to live without a man to help provide, protect, and etc. But as we will see there was something inside of her that was not satisfied. I mean at this point she has been married 5 times and the current man she is living with is not her husband. All of this leads me to what I think our text wants us to understand today…
Theme: True worship will provide what our hearts are longing for and transform us.
1. The Beginning Of True Worship—John 4.16-19.
Just to refresh our memories, Jesus has to finished the 2 part of his conversation with this woman. He masterfully took a conversation about water and transformed it into drawing out the deepest longing of her heart (and really all of our hearts). As I mentioned earlier we all have this deep longing that we keep searching for, and Jesus responds to that longing with, “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4.14). So this woman responded, “…give me this water” (John 4.15).
Now Jesus is in the 3rd act of this skillful conversation He has led her on—READ John 4.16-19. Let’s slow down and take heed of a few things here. First, Jesus recognizes this same cultural norm I mentioned to you earlier. Jesus asks this woman to bring what she worships to him. She gives him a VERY honest answer. Can you imagine the shame she would have felt in that statement? This is someone who has been married 5 times, and is currently living with someone that she is not even married to. This may be cultural acceptable today, but back then, NO WAY. In a very real sense she is being honest about who she is. The woman is confessing her sin. She has tried to find her worth, value, and identity by attaching herself to various men. And Jesus went right after this with one simple request.
Friends, this is the beginning of true worship, because in order to begin to experience true worship we must be honest with Jesus about what we have been truly worshipping. We must be honest about who or what we are attaching our worth, value and identity to. Whether you are a Christian or not, we all need to come confess right now that we sought something other than God this week as our means of worth, value, identity, source of joy. Only when we start with this will be begin down the path of true worship—true fulfillment—true everlasting joy.
2. The Truth For True Worship—John 4.25-26.
Before we get into the main result or fruit of true worship we still need to explore how we get there. In order to understand that we need to skip ahead in the conversation a bit—READ John 4.25-26.
The last thing said in our previous section was, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (John 4.19). Couple that with what we read in John 4.25 and this gives us a good picture of the type of doctrine this woman was taught growing up. You see friends, one of the big points of disagreements between Jews and Samaritans was around what belonged in the Bible. The Jews believed in the same OT we have today, but the Samaritans only affirmed the Torah as Holy Scripture. Jesus knew there was one thing doctrinally that Jews and Samaritans did agree on. According to Deuteronomy 18.15 both the Jews and Samaritans were looking for a “prophet” greater than Moses to come and explain all things to them.
So this woman recognizes something spectacular about this Man. Not only is He revealing things deep down her heart, but fulfilling, right before her very eyes, all the things she was taught growing up. According to John 4.26, Jesus wants this woman to understand that all the deep longings of her heart will be found in Him.
No one will ever truly find true fulfillment without first understanding and appreciating who Jesus Christ really is. If we don’t understand, love, and treasure Jesus, then we do not understand, love or treasure God. Later in John 14 Jesus will say that if we see Him than we have seen God. If we don’t see Jesus for who He really is then we will not truly see God. If you are having trouble understanding, loving, and treasuring God lately, then look to Christ. Jesus is not just merely the source of our salvation, justification, sanctification, but He is the source of all true joy, fulfillment, and understanding. Learning to continue treasuring Jesus Christ is learning to continue to grow in our knowledge, understanding, love and affections for God. Know Jesus, know God. But if we do not know Jesus we will not know God. Jesus wanted this woman to understand that, and this story was perceived because He wants us to as well.
3. The Freedom Of True Worship—John 4.20-24.
Now that Jesus has helped this woman understand where worship begins, and the truth she needs to be a true worshiper, we can better understand the amazing application He gives her—READ John 4.20-24. We talk more about this section next week, but I wanted to take some time to briefly begin addressing it this week.
Notice how after Jesus confronted her sin she did not push back, deny, or deflect. Pushing back is when we try to make excuses for our sin, which is what we call “self-justification” here at Refuge. Denying our sin is when we try to act we don’t really have sin. Deflecting is when we try to blame someone else for our sin. This woman does not do any of those things. No, she immediately wants to talk about “WORSHIP” which is the heart of the matter. This is what someone who is free does. They do not have to push back because their value is not attached to their reputation, but to the reputation of Christ. We do not have to deny our sin because Christ comes and reveals to us “all things,” which would include the goods things about us and the bad. We don’t need to deflect our sin onto someone else because Christ willingly took on our sin and took the punishment we all deserve.
You see friends, something extremely profound is happening here because this is not my experience with most people when they are confronted with their sin. When we are confronted with our sin from inside of us or from someone else, our first response is not usually, “I need to better understand worship.” But this is the response of this woman.
She talks to Jesus about the various religious traditions that separate the Jews and the Samaritans. Jesus does not get caught up in that discussion—READ John 4.21. Now Jesus does acknowledge that the Jews have something the Samaritans do not, which is the tribe from which the Messiah will come, the tribe of Judah. This is what Jesus means in John 4.22. Salvation comes from the Jews, because the Jews had maintained the purity of the family of Judah, while the Samaritans had intermarried with various Gentles.
The Jews and the Samaritans were debating the place of worship, but Jesus is addressing the heart of worship. Worship is not about some mystical place, but about transforming our lives from the inside out. What Jesus wants her to understand is that worship is not about a place, but about a people. According to Rom 12, I Cor 3, 6, II Cor 6, I Pet 2, and many others, we are now living temples. In the OT the Temple was a place where people went to experience the presence of God through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelt in the Temple. But Jesus ushered in something new, every who confesses their sin, embraces the truth of who Jesus Christ really is, all of those people are transformed into a living temple where the presence of the Holy Spirit dwells. Everywhere we go we go to worship. We have the freedom to worship anywhere at anytime. This is what Jesus wants this woman to understand. Worship is no longer about a place but a people. We no longer to go to place to offer regular sacrifices, Romans 12 tells we are to be living sacrifices. Jesus one time sacrifice transformed us into something else.
Over the next 2 weeks we will see more on this. We will discuss more on how what this “HOUR” language means, and the woman’s response to all of this.