Spirit and Truth

Spirit and Truth Spirit and Truth

John 4:23 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.

This quote is from the the discussion of the Samaritan woman at the Jacob’s well. What did Jesus mean that true worshippers must shall worship the Father in spirit and truth?

Ten Tribes Torn from Solomon

Up to King Solomon, the kingdom of Israel was an undivided kingdom. However, under the reign of Jeroboam the kingdom of Israel would be divided.

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: 32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

The kingdom was divided into 12 pieces. Ten pieces would be given to Jeroboam, and two pieces would be given to Rehoboam, king over Jerusalem. The division of the kingdom was North and South.

Since Jeroboam feared that the people would return to the Southern kingdom (1 Kings 12:26) under Rehoboam and Jerusalem (where the temple was), he set up his own system of worship in the Northern kingdom. Two idols were set up: one in Dan and one is Bethel. From that time forward the kingdom was divided.

Because of the northern kingdom’s idolatry, God eventually sent it into captivity by the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 18:11). When the northern kingdom was conquered, though, they weren’t simply killed. These Israelites were relocated to Habor and the cities of the Medes. This left a vacuum in the population of the former territories. 2 Kings 17:24 shows that the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, and Spharvaim and placed them in the former cities. The result was that Samaria was now populated by foreigners.

Furthermore, these foreigners knew nothing of the God of Israel, so the king of Assyria sent Levites into the territories to teach these people about God.

This brings us back to the woman at the well.

The woman at the well

The woman at the well was a Samaritan. She was a descendant of the foreigners residing in the former Northern Kingdom of Israel. As such, she would have probably continued the idolatrous practices of her forefathers, the peoples brought into the land by the Assyrian government. She mentions her family religious practices, comparing them to that of the Jews. She tells Jesus….

John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

The true place of worship in the old covenant was the Tabernacle or the Temple which was in Jerusalem, not in Samaria. It is this division between the northern and southern kingdom that the woman refers to.

Jesus’ next statement is interesting. He says, effectively that the place of true worship will not be in a place like Samaria or Jerusalem anymore. “You worship what you do not know.” Jesus tells the woman that she was not a Jew, and the Messiah will be Jewish. Also, Jesus foreshadows that a new system of worship will be introduced.


John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

The topic of the conversation was that of location. Samaria was not the correct location of worship. Jerusalem was the correct location for worship, but only temporarily. So the question still remains. Where is the location of worship?

Enter the New Covenant

1 Corinthians 6:19 What know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have from God?

The temple was destroyed in 70 AD. So the Jews no longer have a legitimate place of worship. Samaria was never authorized to be the place of worship. In the new covenant, each believer was to be the temple. Each believer has the Holy Spirit, just as the temple did in the old covenant system.

The new covenant is an entirely new system, one where time (the Sabbath) and location (the temple) are irrelevant. Said another way. every day is the Sabbath and every place is the place of worship.

The Spirit is required for you to worship in the Spirit

This may be obvious, but you cannot worship in the Spirit unless you are given the Spirit.

John 14:15-17 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Those who believe are given the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit dwells within that believer. It is the Holy Spirit within you that guides you into the truth.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The Truth

The truth has to do with the words of Jesus. It is the gospel of salvation given to you to believe. It is the message given by God to the Holy Spirit, which deepens the believer’s understanding of the truth. Together they sanctify the believer.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Spirit and Truth

Looking at the how the bible defines spirit and truth reveals a few things.

  1. A new system of worship was set up, not based on time or location.
  2. The gospel would go out to the world.
  3. You personally must receive the truth of the gospel.
  4. You must believe that truth.
  5. Having believed, you will receive the Holy Spirit.
  6. It is the Holy Spirit that guides you into all truth and enables you to fully understand the words of the gospel.
  7. It is the working of the Holy Spirit with the words of truth that deepens your understanding.

Those people who believe and have the Holy Spirit are the only ones who worship in spirit and truth.

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