Out of His love for her He confronts her sin and He tells her to bring her husband. Her heart sinks; she looks to the ground and tears fill her eyes. The one thing she is trying to hide is exposed. She is not sure what to say; He sees through her façade and calls her bluff. She attempts to shift the focus:
“‘Sir,’ The woman said, ‘You must be a prophet. But say, tell me, why is it that you Jews Insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here (at Mount. Gerazim), where our ancestors worshiped?”(vv. 19-21 TLB).
He plays along ~
Jesus replied, “The time is coming, ma’am, when we will no longer be concerned about whether to worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. For it’s not where we worship that counts, but how we worship ~ is our worship real? Do we have the Holy Spirit’s help? For God is Spirit, and we must have his help to worship as we should. The Father wants this kind of worship from us. But you Samaritans know so little about him, worshiping blindly, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes from the Jews.” (vv. 21-23 TLB).
She doesn’t know how to answer Him, and brushes it off:
“Well, at least I know that the Messiah will come ~ the one they call Christ ~ and when he does, he will explain everything to us” (v. 25 TLB).
I am amazed at her boldness to argue with Him. She knows she is speaking with a prophet ~ a bold move for a Samaritan woman. She thinks she has Him all figured out, but she is stuck in her religion. She does what many of us do when confronted by our sin ~ engage in a doctrinal debate! She wants to prove how spiritual she is by following her “religion”. It is easy to believe we are in good standing because we worship in the “right” place; that is religion, not relationship. When we rely on anything or anyone other than Jesus, we will not be filled. Jesus wants her to know that worship is not about where she worships, but who she worships, and that she worships with her whole heart.
When the Israelites notice that Moses tarries on the mountain they are afraid to move forward. They are determined to return to Egypt, and to sickness, poverty, and oppression. They do not want to be in His presence, so they reduce His glory to a golden calf (see Exodus 32), and create their own way to approach God. Romans 1:22-23 says:
Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things (KJV).
In the Old Testament, the Ark of the Covenant represents God’s glory, and is evidence that He dwells with His people. God gave Moses specific instructions on the proper way to approach the Ark, and for carrying it. The poles are made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and are to be carried on the shoulders of the priests. (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9).
In 2 Samuel chapters 5-6, David is bringing the Ark home on a cart drawn by oxen, and it begins to fall; Uzzah attempts to catch it and dies. David inquires of the Lord why Uzzah died, and God’s answer is that the Ark was not being transported according to the pattern given to Moses. This is our problem today; we want to leave the rods and carry the Ark how we please, and not the way God desires.
What is true worship? Is it a slow song? A song that stirs your soul? Maybe it is something apart from music? Maybe it is how we live our lives. How do we treat the lady at the grocery store? Does road-rage flare while sporting our Christian bumper stickers? Is Jesus just our religion? Does our life sing? We wear Christian t-shirts and WWJD bracelets blindly supposing we are winning the world to Jesus. Would we know what Jesus would do in most of the situations we face today? If you don’t open your Bible except on Sunday, how would you know what Jesus would do? Worship is not just going to church.
Why do you go to church? Maybe you feel like you’re on the way to hell if you don’t? Maybe you think the pastor won’t like you anymore or think you are not really sold out for Jesus. We fear what people think when we’re not there, and that we are marked absent in The Book of Life ~ three strikes and we’re out. We picture God sitting on His throne, mad at us for missing church. We should be part of a local church and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). However, we should go to church because we love Him; serve, because we love Him; tithe, because we love Him. Loving God with all our heart is true worship, and it will flow out of our love for Him; once we know Him, we can’t help but love and worship Him.
Exodus chapters 32-40 describes the pattern from the Lord for the Tabernacle. In the midst of their sin of creating their own god, the Lord is giving Moses the plans for the Tabernacle, which foreshadows Christ. Jesus tabernacles with the Samaritan woman in the midst of her sin, to draw her to the presence of God. Once she tastes His presence, she will never be the same.