A conversation between Jesus and a Samaritan woman
20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
There is a growing tendency at least in my immediate environment (Nigeria), to associate certain geographical locations with meeting God in a special way. In this fascinating passage of scripture, we find Jesus conversing with a Samaritan women at an ancient well. They were discussing the worship of God and the link with geographical location.
The woman was quick to highlight the difference between her people and the Jews. The Samaritans chose to worship on mount Gerizim whilst the Jews insisted that worship must be centralised in Jerusalem. There was a fixation not on the worship itself but on where the worship was taking place. There was a focus on the external rather than the internal.
As expected, Jesus’ reply cut right through all of that. Although He addressed the issue of who was worshipping the true God in verse 22, His focus was more on shifting the Samaritan woman’s perspective from the external to the internal. In other words, it is not the geographical location of where we worship God from that really matters but rather the heart of our worship. In Jesus’ own words, it is the spirit and truth behind our worship that God is concerned about and not where we worship Him from.
The bible says that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we are now the geographical location and not some mountain somewhere. We carry our temples with us in our spirits everywhere we go. If this is so then why do some believers feel that unless they pray from certain geographical locations then God will not hear them? In Nigeria, this erroneous thinking has reached epic proportions and crossed the threshold in some cases into idolatrous territory.
There are now ‘camp sites’ and ‘mountains’ across the country where thousands and sometimes millions of people risk and sacrifice so much to get to just so God can hear them. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the corporate anointing and the special role that it plays in the lives of believers. However, I’m talking about the extreme approach of idolising certain locations to the detriment of the most important location on earth, which is the Temple of God hidden in your inner man.
Christ is Jacob’s ladder, the bridge between Heaven and Earth. He is the only way to the Father and therefore the only prerequisite to worshiping the Father is for our spirits to connect with His Holy Spirit. That’s why the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from us was torn when Christ died on the cross. That signified the end of an era. The dispensation of the physical temple died with Christ. That’s why He said He could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. The true Temple of God now dwells in our spirits and there is where true worship originates. Anyone can say the right things and tick the right boxes religiously speaking but the heart never lies. That’s why the Father now seeks those who will worship Him from their hearts.
Don’t wait for some special programme in a special geographical location to worship God. You are His Temple and can connect with His heart from wherever you are. Dare I say that the anointing of corporate worship is improved when the individuals that make up such meetings have learnt to worship God in spirit and in truth.