What Is The Meaning Of John 4:24? (worship in the spirit)

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. John 4:24

The reality is we all worship something; what we get to choose is what we are going to worship. What we see in the meaning of John 4:24 is an invitation to worship the only thing that can truly satisfy us. All other things only let us down.

This is a powerful passage that will challenge you to evaluate your life and see how you worship. In this post, we are going to look at what this verse says and how we can apply it to our lives. 

The Context Of John 4:24

John 4 records Jesus’ interaction with a Samaritan woman who was drawing water from a well. This woman had been living in sin and was ostracized from her community. While everyone else avoids her, Jesus goes to her. He shows her grace, confronts her about her sin, and speaks the truth of the gospel. 

Throughout this interaction, Jesus corrects some of her beliefs about who God was, particularly about how to know God. Jesus introduces a new relationship with God, where man and God commingle. God doesn’t need a temple; instead, salvation will come through the Messiah. 

As the conversation draws to a close, this woman’s life is forever changed. She returns to town and tells everyone she can about what Jesus has done. 

The verse we are looking at, John 4:24, addresses some of the misconceptions this woman had about worship and the mission of the Messiah. Not only did this woman learn a valuable and transformational lesson, the disciples did as well. 

Let’s take a closer look at the John 4:24 meaning and see what we can learn. 

The Meaning Of John 4:24

Previously Jesus offered the Samaritan woman living water. She’d spent most of her life jumping from one relationship to another, clearly searching for something. Jesus is offering her living water that will quench her thirst. In John 4:24 Jesus is explaining to her that true worship doesn’t require a temple or one to be Jewish or Samaritan. Rather it requires spirit and truth. God is interested in who wants him in this way. 

When Jesus says, “God is Spirit” he is saying that God is not flesh. He is invisible, divine, and to a certain extent unknowable. But through Jesus, he has chosen to reveal himself. This means that for those who worship him, they must do so in a spiritual way. This is why Jesus speaks about the importance of being spiritually reborn in the previous chapters (John 3:5). 

Dr Tom Constable describes it this way: “The essential reason worship of God must be spiritual is that God is a spiritual being, not a physical idol. Worship of a spiritual God requires spiritual worship, not just going through certain acts of worship at special places of worship. Furthermore, people cannot worship God in any manner that may seem attractive to them. They must worship Him as He by the Spirit has revealed we should.”

The emphasis here is that God doesn’t need a temple or a mountain or any other physical location to be worshiped. Both the Jews and Samaritans often fixated on such things. Jesus is showing here that their beliefs are wrong. You worship God in spirit, not a physical location. 

To worship God in spirit means that we engage our entire being. True worship is not just about external actions or physical locations. Rather it involves our hearts, minds, and souls in connection with our creator. This means that we are giving our whole selves to God. When we decided to follow God every part of our being must be brought into submission.  

To worship God in truth continues this idea. It means that we align our lives with what he has revealed to us through his Word. This means that we don’t just say the right words, but we live them out. When we worship in truth we ground our lives and actions in God’s Word. 

How John 4:24 Applies To Your Life 

The meaning of John 4:24 points us to what true worship looks like. Worship is not about where we are at, what day of the week it is, or any other surface-level things. To worship in spirit and truth means that we are Christ-focused and allow the gospel to permeate our entire being. Worship isn’t tied to a place, rather worship ties us to God. 

Both the Samaritans and Jews tied worship to a specific location. They had their places where they went to worship God. Today we aren’t much different; we often worship on Sundays at church. But worshipping in spirit and truth isn’t about once a week worship, it’s about how we daily go about our lives. John 4:24 challenges us to worship with every part of our lives and every part of our being.  

Take a few minutes to evaluate your life and your worship. Are you worshiping God with your entire being? Or have you left parts of your life out? 

Do you worship only on a specific day? Or is worship part of your everyday? 

In John 4:24 Jesus was inviting this woman into an intimate relationship with him. One in which she would no longer hunger and thirst for things that could never satisfy. In him she could find peace, joy, and healing. She was worshiping the wrong things, and Jesus is inviting her to worship the only thing that can truly satisfy: Him. 

That invitation is still open to us today. Will you worship the only one who can truly satisfy? Or will you return to the things that continually leave you thirstier and thirstier? 

Now check out: 10 Surprising Modern Day Idols (how to identify idol worship in your life)

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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