The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 51 of 210
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Christ's reply to this was quite different from what she expected. Doubtless she
thought there would be an argument over the rival claims of Jerusalem and the foot of
Mount Gerizim. Abraham and Jacob set up altars at Shechem, near Gerizim (Gen. 12: 7;
33: 20). On Gerizim the blessings were proclaimed recorded in Deut. 28: In the
Samaritan Pentateuch there is a record of an altar set up on Gerizim and in this vicinity
the Samaritan temple stood.
But Christ said to her:
"Believe Me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on
this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know, for
salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true
worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of
worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit and His worshippers must worship in spirit
and in truth" (4: 21-24).
The new order of the kingdom of God was being proclaimed and this, when believed,
would extend over the world, far beyond Palestine. While Jerusalem would be the
greatest city in this kingdom, it could never be the only place of worship. The important
question was not now where people worship God, but how they worship Him.
Saviour, where'er Thy people meet,
There they behold Thy mercy seat;
Where'er they seek Thee, Thou art found,
And every place is hallowed ground. (William Cowper).
4: 25 - 5: 15.
pp. 45 - 50
One thing which is quite amazing is that the Lord Jesus gives a lesson on true worship
to an outsider, whereas to Nicodemus, a well known leader and teacher of Israel, he deals
with the fundamentals of the new birth! But the Saviour makes no mistakes. He reveals
to the Samaritan woman that God himself is pure Spirit and can only accept spiritual
worship, worship that is humble, grateful, and adoring. This is a divine "must" (4: 24).
Such worship is primarily not from the senses, but deeper from the mind that has been
touched by God's saving grace. Material things can only be at best the vehicle of true
spiritual worship; of themselves they are not its essence. And we should never forget the
tremendous statement that the Father is seeking such to worship Him (verse 23). As He
seeks the world over with all its religion, how many true worshippers does He find? This
should be a real challenge to everyone who claims to be a Christian.
The Lord's words were working deeply in the mind of the woman.  While the
Samaritans' expectation was not connected with the Messiah of Israel, it did look forward
to the coming of the great Prophet as foretold by Moses in Deut. 18: 15. Could this
stranger be more than an ordinary prophet? Could He be this great Spokesman?