John 4:23
But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him.
The Axe At the Root -- a Testimony Against Puseyite IdolatryCharles Haddon Spurgeon John 4:23
The Divine SearchJ.R. Thomson John 4:23
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christian WorshipR. Brodie, M. A.John 4:20-29
Christianity Non-CentralizedDr. Whichcote., J. Boyd.John 4:20-29
How to Worship GodDean Close.John 4:20-29
Human Curiosity and Divine MysteryW. M. H. Aitken, M. A.John 4:20-29
Mount GerizimF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:20-29
Not Where, But How is the Main ThingClerical LibraryJohn 4:20-29
Spiritual WorshipF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 4:20-29
The Advent of Christ in Relation to the HeathenCanon Vernon Hutton.John 4:20-29
The Breadth of Spiritual ReligionPhillips Brooks, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Church of the FutureH. W. Beecher.John 4:20-29
The Old Worship and the NewR. W. Dale, LL. D.John 4:20-29
The True Worship of GodT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Vanity of Religious ControversyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:20-29
This MountainArchbishop Trench.John 4:20-29
Traditional ReligionJ. Lightfoot, D. D.John 4:20-29
Veneration for Places of Ancient WorshipR. W. Dale, D. D.John 4:20-29
Aptness of ChristArchdeacon Paley.John 4:22-23
Can We be Sure of GodJ. Clifford, D. D.John 4:22-23
Christ's Revelation of GodH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:22-23
God May be Worshipped AnywhereE. Bakersteth.John 4:22-23
How We May Know GodNew CyclopaediaJohn 4:22-23
Ignorant Worship Affects the Life for EvilJohn 4:22-23
Ignorant WorshippersRaikes' Diary.John 4:22-23
One Nation and All NationsA. Vinet, D. D.John 4:22-23
The Spiritual Ignorance of the SamaritansF. D. Maurice, M. A.John 4:22-23
The Straightforwardness of JesusG. J. Brown, M. A.John 4:22-23
The True WorshipA. Beith, D. D.John 4:22-23
A True WorshipperJohn 4:23-24
Appropriate WorshipDean Young.John 4:23-24
God Seeks WorshippersJ. Trapp.John 4:23-24
Living Worshippers the Only True WorshippersLittle's, Historical Lights.John 4:23-24
SeekethBp. Ryle.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipT. Barrass.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipDr. Whichcote.John 4:23-24
Spiritual WorshipMenanderJohn 4:23-24
The Axe At the RootC. H. Spurgeon., Caryl.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality and Simplicity of Christian WorshipCanon H. Stowell, M. A.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality of WorshipH. Melvill, B. D.John 4:23-24
The Spirituality of WorshipP. Schaff, D. D.John 4:23-24
True Worship Binds Together All Human SoulsStewart.John 4:23-24
Where to PrayJohn 4:23-24
WorshipT. Jones, D. D.John 4:23-24
WorshipW. E. Channing, D. D.John 4:23-24
Worship and WorshippersJ.R. Thomson John 4:23, 24
In some form worship is all but universal. Wherever on earth man is found, there he presents to the Power above the offerings of his devotion. Doubtless there are cases without number in which worship has degenerated into mere superstition. Yet, where worship is at its best, it is one of the very highest manifestations and exercises of human nature. Much has been said by philosophers, by poets, by theologians, concerning the nature and the virtue of worship. But more light has been cast upon this subject by Jesus, in the few words recorded to have been spoken by him to the poor Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar, than has been yielded from every other source. Few portions of our Lord's discourses have been more quoted or more admired than this. But the world has still much to learn from these memorable sayings.

I. CHRIST TELLS US WHOM WE ARE TO WORSHIP. Idolaters offer their adoration, in some cases to the great and imposing objects of nature, as the sun, the moon, etc.; in other cases to the works of their own hands, as to images of silver, of gold, of wood, etc. The perplexed in mind have worshipped "the Unknown God," and agnostics profess to venerate "the Unknowable." But it is the happy privilege of Christians to worship the God who is revealed by the Lord Jesus.

1. As the Spirit, apprehended, not by the senses, but by the soul. The Divine Being, spiritual in nature, everywhere present, everywhere conscious, everywhere acting, is the proper Object of human worship.

2. As the Father, who is not distant and unapproachable, but very near, to whom we owe our being, who supplies our wants, exercises over us a constant care, and trains us for the future by a moral discipline. Such is the affectionate relation which is sustained to us by the great Object of our adoration.

II. CHRIST TELLS US HOW WE ARE TO WORSHIP. There have been devised by men's ingenuity and superstition many methods by which it has been thought worship might be acceptably offered. Bodily posture, ascetic rites, unholy ceremonial, painful pilgrimages, and cruel sacrifices have been deemed acceptable, and have accordingly been practised. In contradistinction from such modes of service, Christ bids his disciples worship:

1. In spirit. Man's spirit, because created in the likeness of the heavenly Father, possesses the power of honouring, praising, thanking, and loving the living God. The heart is the seat of loyalty, of gratitude, of love. Not that worship is to be locked up in the secrecy of the breast; it may and will find expression in solemn speech and joyful song. But all utterances and forms of worship derive their value and their power from their being the manifestation of spiritual life and spiritual aspirations.

2. In truth; i.e. with a just conception of the Being worshipped, and in sincerity and reality. Such worship will be personal, and not merely formal or vicarious. The priest must not arrogate the functions of the worshipper. And true worship will be of the life, as well as of the lips; for both alike will be accepted as the revelation of deep and spiritual feeling.

III. CHRIST TELLS US WHEN AND WHERE WE ARE TO WORSHIP. Upon these points his lessons differ from the maxims and the practices of those who follow the narrow ordinances of superstition. For whereas men have usually set apart special places and special seasons as peculiarly suitable for worship, as peculiarly acceptable to God, the Lord Christ speaks on these subjects with a breadth and freedom quite superhuman.

1. At all times, irrespective of human ordinances and customs. There are special seasons when it is well, when it is in accordance with the practice of the Church, and even with the authority of the primitive Christians, to offer stated, solemn, and spiritual sacrifices. But both the precepts and the example of Jesus assure us that we are not confined to such times, but that there is no season when sincere worship is not acceptable to God.

2. In every place worship may be presented to the omnipresent Creator. No longer on the heights of Gerizim or in the temple of Jerusalem, i.e. exclusively and specially, is the Eternal Father worshipped. Wherever God's people meet together in a devout and lowly attitude of mind, and under the guidance of the Spirit of God, there is a consecrated place. Nay, the scene of retired and solitary worship is holy; for a worshipping nature and a worshipped Deity are together there.


1. One reason is to be sought in ourselves - in our own nature; we have been made capable of this lofty exercise. This is a prerogative denied to the inferior creatures of God. We live beneath the high possibilities of our being, if we restrain worship and draw not near unto the Father of our spirits.

2. Another reason is to be found in God himself; his nature and character are such as to command and to invite our worship. Our heavenly Father cannot be known by any who are capable of right judgment and right feeling without appearing to such deserving of the lowliest and most fervent adoration.

3. God seeks believing worshippers. An amazing proof both of condescension and compassion! How can we withhold from God that which he, the Almighty Lord, deigns to seek from us? - T.

The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers.

1. The perfection of the Divine character. "God is a Spirit." These words are —(1) A mystery, because spirit, like matter, is unknown to us in its essence. We are acquainted with some of the sensible properties of matter, such as extension, figure, colour, etc.; but what the substance is which underlies these we do not understand. So also of spirit; we see its manifold manifestations; we feel, and therefore know, that it does exist; but what it is in itself is a profound and inexplicable mystery.(2) A revelation. By them our Saviour declared the personality of God. What is in the effect must have been first in the cause. The Creator of persons must be a person.(3) As possessing all possible perfections.

2. The nature of man. Intellectual ability, genius, and learning, which are the possessions of the few, call forth our admiration, but there is that in us all which is greater than these, namely, the power to worship our Creator. All men have this; but in many it exists only in a latent state. Thousands of human souls are nothing better than the burial-places of their own faculties. It seems as if some malignant spiritual magician had waved his terrible wand over human nature, causing a deep sleep to fall upon its noblest instincts, and thus preventing its development. One of the greatest dangers of the present time is the weakening of this power in men. The heathen worship senseless idols; the ancient Greeks worshipped beauty; in the days of chivalry men worshipped physical strength, military dignity, valour, and courage; but the tendency of many in our own age is to worship nothing. Even in the Church the idea of worship does not occupy the place it did in other times. The leading con. ception appears to be preaching.


1. Meditation upon God. Holy and thoughtful Hebrews contemplated His character in the works of creation, the goodness of His providence, and the words He had spoken by His prophets. These are the three mirrors in which they beheld "the beauty of the Lord." A greater and clearer manifestation has been given to us "in the face of Jesus Christ." It follows that He should be set most prominently before the mind in all our acts of worship.

2. Devout contemplation produces reverence, without which there is no true worship.(1) The science that has in it no reverence is "blind, and cannot see afar off." Philosophy without reverence is wanting in the first element of wisdom, and when art has lost reverence its greatest beauty is gone. There can be no great literature without reverence; piety without reverence will not soar above the earth, and a life without reverence is not worthy of the name. Would you paint science, philosophy, art, poetry, and literature in a becoming manner? Then you should represent them as a sisterhood of angels in the attitude of worship.(2) This spirit, which ought to characterize our whole life, should become intense in our direct acts of worship, for we enter then in a special manner into the Divine presence. "Our God is a consuming fire," and we should therefore approach His throne "with reverence and godly fear." What the fragrance of flowers is to the atmosphere of the summer garden, this feeling of reverence should be to our public worship.

3. Worship is transcendent wonder. "Oh, the depth of the riches," etc. "Great and marvellous are Thy works," etc. "Who shall not fear Thee?"

4. Worship is communion with God. "Our fellowship is with the Father."

5. A profound sense of humility and self-abasement. The angels hide their faces in His presence. Contemplate His holiness, and sin will appear hateful. Behold His greatness, and you will feel how humble you ought to be.

(T. Jones, D. D.)

Oh, how should this fire up our hearts to spiritual worship, that God seeks for such, with "Let me see Thy face, hear Thy voice!" (Song of Solomon 2:14). He soliciteth suitors.

(J. Trapp.)

The magistrates (among the New England Puritans) insisted on the presence of every man at public worship. Roger Williams reprobated the law; the worst statute in the English code was that which did but enforce attendance upon the parish church. "An unbelieving soul is dead in sin"; such was his argument; and to force the indifferent from one worship to another "was like shifting a dead man into several changes of apparel."

(Little's "Historical Lights.)

An officer from one of the ships in port — a serious young man — spent the interval between the English and native services with me at the mission-house. As the congregation began to assemble he accompanied me to the door of the chapel, intending to take leave when the exercises should begin, as he was unacquainted with the language, and had been already longer from his ship than he designed; but after standing a few minutes, and seeing hundreds of natives assembling quietly and seriously from various directions, he suddenly exclaimed, while tears glistened in his eye, "No! — this is too much; I cannot go till I worship with these heathen!"


"I have in my congregation," said a minister of the gospel, "a worthy aged woman, who has for many years been so deaf as not to distinguish the loudest sound; and yet she is always one of the first in the meeting. On asking the reason of her constant attendance, as it was impossible for her to hear my voice, she answered, "Though I cannot hear you, I come to God's house because I love it, and would be found in His ways; and He gives me many a sweet thought upon the text when it is pointed out to me. Another reason is, because I am in the best company, in the most immediate presence of God, and among His saints, the honourable of the earth."

(Church Dedication): —


1. Worship is man's highest end, for it is the employment of his highest faculties in the sublimest object

2. Worship has been disparaged by representing it as a priestly contrivance for selfish ends.

3. But how came the priest into being, and who gave him power? Religion was earlier than government.

4. In the earliest ages men recognized an immediate interference of the Deity in what powerfully struck the senses. These rude notions have been dispelled by science, which reveals fixed laws.(1) But in these the religious principle finds confirmations of God more numerous and powerful still.(2) The progress of the arts, teaching us the beneficent uses to which God's works may be applied, has furnished new testimonies to God's goodness.(3) The progress of society has made God s creation more attractive.(4) Human improvement has created new capacities and demands for religion.(5) The soul, in proportion as it enlarges its capacities and refines its affections, discerns within itself a more glorious type of the Divinity.

5. All other wants are superficial and transcient: the profoundest of all is the want of God.

6. Let us rejoice, then, in tits house. Heaven has no higher joy, the universe no higher work, than worship.


1. Worship is of different forms — some unworthy. The idea of God has been selfishly seized and so obscured that little of its purifying power has remained, and men have, by pompous machinery and obsequious adulation, endeavoured to bend the Almighty to their particular interests.

2. This house is not reared to perpetuate the superstitions of past or present. Here are none of the idols which degraded ancient temples, none of the forms which in a rude age Providence allowed to the Jews; none of the cumbersome ceremonies with which Christ has been overlaid.


1. Of one Infinite Person.

2. The Father. God has not always been so worshipped, but Christ has for ever revealed Him as such. What a privilege I What does the term import? Not merely that He is Creator — He made the mountain and the insect — but that He communicates an existence like His own. He made us in His image and likeness, and makes us partakers of the Divine nature. God is a Spirit, and we are spirits. In calling God Father I understand —(1) That He loves His offspring with unbounded affection. Love is the fundamental attribute of a father.(2) That it is His chief purpose in creating and governing the universe to train and ennoble the rational and moral being to whom He has given birth. Education is the great work of a parent.(3) That He exercises authority over His child.(4) That He communicates Himself. It belongs to a parent to breathe into the child whatever is loftiest in his own soul.(5) That He destines His rational moral creature to immortality. How ardently does a parent desire to prolong the life of his child!

3. Of the Infinite Father in spirit and in truth.(1) Intelligently, with just and honourable conceptions of Him.(2) With the heart as well as the intellect.(3) With faith in a higher presence.(4) With a filial, not a fearful, spirit.

IV. THE GREAT END OF WORSHIPPING HERE IS THAT YOU MAY WORSHIP EVERYWHERE, that your houses and places of business may be consecrated to God. Adore Him —

1. As He is revealed in the universe.

2. As He is revealed in His rational and moral offspring by fulfilling His purposes in regard to Him. Reverence the human soul as His chosen sanctuary, in yourselves and in others, and labour to carry it forward to perfection. Mercy is most acceptable worship. He who rears one child in Christian virtue or recovers one fellow-creature to God builds a temple more precious and enduring than Solomon's or St. Peter's.

(W. E. Channing, D. D.)

I. THE GREAT PECULIARITY OF CHRISTIANITY and proof of its Divinity IS THAT IT IS FITTED TO BE THE RELIGION OF EVERY AGE AND COUNTRY. There is nothing in its institutions which confines it to one place rather than another; and nothing in its requirements which makes its exercise easier at this time or that. The heathen attached special sacredness to some shrine; the Jews could perform the most solemn acts of their worship nowhere but at Jerusalem. This was enough to prove that Judaism was not designed to be permanent, because it could not be universal. Christianity takes the whole world for its Jerusalem, and attaches no sacredness to certain lands and temples. A kind of sanctity must be attached to the scenes of Christ's life, of course. But it is not a religious sacredness. A church built on Calvary would be no holier than anywhere else.

II. EVERYWHERE THE FATHER SEEKS TO BE WORSHIPPED IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH. Why? Because of His nature. Composed as we are of body and soul, men have formed improper notions of the Godhead, because we are unable to form ideas of a purely Spiritual Being. The Deity differing immeasurably from ourselves, to invest Him with our imperfections is to destroy reverence. Were He not a Spirit He could not possess the properties which belong to the Divine Being — omnipresence, e.g. — a body cannot be present in different places at the same time; infinitude — a body cannot fill the universe. But in His spiritual nature He must be immeasurably removed from the highest ranks of created intelligence. We want to stretch beyond spirit, because we cannot but believe that God is infinitely beyond angels; and it is our duty to maintain the thought that God is far above all created excellence.

III. ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP, THEN, MUST TAKE ITS CHARACTER FROM THE NATURE OF GOD. It follows, therefore, that carnal and ceremonial worship will not be acceptable. Prayer must be based on God's perfections. It were useless to pray unless persuaded of His omnipresence — who could worship a being who was not within hearing? — and equally useless unless convinced of His unchangeableness. Who could pray unless God's promises and precepts were immutable? This worship is not optional, but obligatory.


1. The body as well as the soul is to be sanctified and glorified; with both, therefore, God is to be honoured.

2. Where there is inward worship there will not be outward irreverence.

3. But it is indifferent except as the index and accompaniment of the soul.


1. It is an act of the understanding. Not "What ye know not," but "What we know." God as known by the light of nature and revelation.

2. It is an act of the will — surrender and submission to God.

3. An act of the affections — delighting in and sympathizing with God.

4. An act of faith —

5. An act of reverence.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF GOD. "God is a Spirit."

1. How little we know about spirit. We can only contrast it with matter. "The Egyptians are men," etc. "A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have."

2. The heathen entertained sensual views of God, and "changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image like to corruptible man," etc.

3. But God is a Spirit, and therefore —

(1)Omnipotent. A body can only occupy a certain space.

(2)Unchangeable and eternal. Bodies are finite and mutable.

4. As we can understand so little about God as a Spirit, we are grateful for His revelation.

(1)In nature.

(2)In His Word.

(3)In His Son, through whom God's Spirit is brought near in our own nature, that we may the better understand, love, and serve Him.


1. Sincere. However fair the impression and imposing the ceremonial, formality is abhorent to Him. We scorn insincere professions and friendships, and an earthly monarch would repel the adulation of a traitor.

2. Spiritual: the homage of the heart. God's complaint of His ancient people was that they drew nigh with their lips only. To this a spiritual state is necessary, for "the carnal mind is enmity against God"; and also renewal of the Holy Spirit, "praying in the Holy Ghost."

3. Elevation and enlargement in contrast to the Samaritan worship "in the mountain" and to that of the Jews at Jerusalem. No creature was allowed to be offered to God, "except such as could run and fly."

4. God will not reject the tremulous and broken utterances of a contrite heart.



1. Deepened gratitude.

2. Elevated affections.

3. Relief from care.

4. Preparation for heaven.

(T. Barrass.)

Note —

1. The difference between interest in theology and interest in religion. Here was a woman living in sin, and yet deeply interested in theological controversy. Controversy sharpens our disputative faculties and wakes our speculative ones. Religion is love to God and man. The woman's con- duct is typical. The moment Christ appears, she examines His views, not on righteousness, but was He sound on the Temple.

2. All that was worth noticing in the question had disappeared. Wrong as the Samaritan was, he was not so wrong as the Jew for excommunicating him, or half so wrong as he himself was for hating the Jew. Just as worship disappeared in this miserable controversy, so is Christianity going down in ours. Which was worse — to worship on a wrong hill, or to mistake the very essence of worship? Consider —

I. THE FOUNDATION ON WHICH THE NEW RELIGION RESTS is the revelation made by Christ concerning —

1. The Fatherhood of God. This is the emphatic word. Men had worshipped the Father before. The Greeks and Romans spoke of a "Father of gods and men"; the Jewish prophet said, "Have we not all one Father?" But universality was want- ing. Therefore the old question was all in all — Where is He to be worshipped? The real question hidden under that was, Who are His children? The appearance of God was the answer: God is the Father of the family of man.

2. The spirituality of God. The definition is not theological, but practical. It is chiefly negative. It says what God is not — not Matter. He is Mind, which has no place. Of love, generosity, thought, can you say, Where?

3. The personality of God — "seeketh."(1) Two erroneous notions are compatible with the idea of Spirit — God as an idea elaborated out of our own minds, and that God is the soul of nature: but both are impersonal.(2) This is redemption. "God is a Spirit; He seeketh." Here is the value of belief in a Person. Not that we seek God; but that He seeks us.

II. THE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL WORSHIP.(1) It is not what a man professes that constitutes worship. A Trinitarian may call Christ "God," and worship mammon.(2) A man cannot decide whether he will or will not worship — he must. The only question is, What? That before which he bows as greater than himself. An infidel may worship Reason. The new worship of God is to be —

1. Universal as against Samaritan or Jewish exclusiveness. The "where" is unimportant.

2. "In spirit." This the better Jews had gradually seen. "What doth the Lord require of thee," etc. All true life is worship.

3. "In truth." The correspondence between acts and laws. God dwells in the humble heart. To be humble, to love God, is His spiritual worship.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

In this there is —





(Dr. Whichcote.)


1. Is founded upon and riseth from the spirituality of God.

2. Is manifest by the light of nature to be due to Him; not the outward means, which depended on a law, but the inward manner. "Sacrifice to the gods, not so much clothed with purple garments as with a pure heart"

(Menander). This could not but result —(1) From a knowledge of ourselves. Psalm 100:1, 2, is a natural principle. Man must know that his faculties were given him to glorify God.(2) From the knowledge of God (Romans 1:21).

3. Spiritual worship, therefore, was always required by God, and always offered Him. His spirituality fails not, and spirituality must run through all the rights of worship, and did (Deuteronomy 30:10).

4. It is, consequently, every man's duty to worship God in spirit as to worship Him at all. He that denies worship to be due to God denies His Deity; he that waives spiritual worship, denies His spirituality.

5. The ceremonial law was abolished to promote spirituality of worship.(1) The legal service is called "flesh," in opposition to the gospel, which is called "spirit" (Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 9:10; 2 Corinthians 3:8; Galatians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Romans 2:29).(2) The legal ceremonies were not a fit means to bring the heart into a spiritual frame. They had a spiritual intent, but did not work spiritual affections in the soul (Galatians 4:9; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1).(3) Neither are they hindered spiritual affections; because the people sunk down to the things themselves, and refused to perceive their spiritual intent.(4) Upon these accounts, therefore, God never testified Himself well pleased with that kind of worship; not as they were His own institution, but as they were practised (Hosea 6:6; Isaiah 1:11-14).(5) God, therefore, never intended their permanence, and often mentioned a coming spiritual change (Hebrews 7:18; Galatians 4:2; Malachi 1:11).

6. The gospel service is spiritual. Spirituality is the genius of the gospel (Romans 12:1). Its matter — love of, and faith in, God — its motives (John 1:17), its manner, its assistances, are all spiritual.

7. Yet the worship of our bodies is not to be rejected.(1) Bodily worship is due to God (1 Corinthians 6:20). Both body and spirit are from God, and should be for God.(2) Social worship is due to God, but this cannot be without some bodily expressions.(3) Christ worshipped with His body (Luke 22:41, 42).


1. From a spiritual nature (Ephesians 2:10).

2. By the influence of the Spirit of God (Romans 8:13, 26; Ephesians 6:18).

3. Done in sincerity — from the heart (Romans 1:9; Proverbs 23:26; Exodus 25:7; Psalm 119:108). This is the salt which seasons every sacrifice, and without the heart worship is a stage play (Romans 10:10).

4. Performed with unitedness of heart (Psalm 86:11; Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 6:6; Psalm 119:10).

5. Discharged with spiritual activity (Psalm 57:8), and acting spiritual habits (Psalm 103:1). Hence the necessity of —

(1)Faith (Hebrews 9:6).

(2)Love (Romans 8:15).

(3)A spiritual sensibility of our own weakness.

(4)Spiritual desires after God (Psalm 63:2, 8; Psalm 42:2).

(5)Thankfulness and admiration (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:13, 14).

6. Offered with delight (Psalm 43:4; Ephesians 5:18, 19).

7. Paid with deep reverence (Isaiah 6:2; Hebrews 12:28), and humility (Hosea 2:4; Isaiah 6:5; 1 Chronicles 29:14). God commanded not the fiercer creatures to be sacrificed, but the meek; none that had stings in their tails or venom in their tongues.

8. Performed with holiness (Psalm 93:5; Hebrews 9:14; Revelation 4:8).

9. Performed with spiritual ends and raised aims at God's glory (Hebrews 11:6; Revelation 4:11). Some worship as poor men offer a present to rich — not to honour them, but to gain a richer reward (Malachi 3:14).

10. Offered in the name of Christ (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 8:3).

III. WHY A SPIRITUAL WORSHIP IS DUE TO GOD, and to be offered to Him.

1. The best we have is robe presented in worship, on the grounds —

(1)Of God's excellency (Malachi 1:13, 14).

(2)God's command (Exodus 29:13).

(3)Heathen precedent, who offered their males and their children.

(4)All creatures serve man, by the Providential order, with their best.

(5)God has served man with His best.

2. We cannot else act towards God according to the nature of rational creatures. Spiritual worship is due to God because of His nature, and from us because of ours. To withhold our spiritual faculties is to deny them the end and use for which they were given.

3. Without the engagement of our spirits, no act is an act of worship. The posture of the body is best to testify the affection of the mind.

4. There is in worship an approach of God to man. Ought not our spirits to be prepared to receive Him? (Exodus 19:10, 11; Ezekiel 48:35).

5. To have this worship is God's end in redemption and sanctification (Malachi 3:3; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:5).

6. Other worship cannot be acceptable, God being a Spirit (1 Peter 2:5).

IV. TO MAKE USE OF THIS. It serves —

1. For information. If spiritual worship be required —(1) How sad their state who, so far from giving it, render no worship at all. Worship is founded on creation (Psalm 100:2, 3), and man in no state can be exempted. Where there is no acknowledgment of God, the gate is open for all sin (Hosea 4:1, 2; Genesis 4:16). Worship to a false God, or in a false way, is better than none at all.(2) Diligence in outward worship is not to be rested in (Revelation 3:1).

2. For examination.(1) How are our hearts prepared to worship? Do we quicken our spirits? (Psalm 27:8.) Are our hearts fixed?(2) How do we act our graces in worship?(3) How do we find our hearts after worship? How as to inward strength, humility, delight?

3. For comfort.

4. For exhortation.

(S. Charnock, B. D.)

is distinct from —

I. FORMALISM and ritualism.



(P. Schaff, D. D.)

If we compare the worship of God under the New Testament economy with that under the Old, or that of false gods, the latter is far more impressive and imposing; and, naturally, men do despise the simplicity of the former, for almost from the first an effort has been made to carnalize and embellish it.

I. CHRISTIAN WORSHIP IS PRE-EMINENTLY NOT MADE TO DEPEND ON SYMBOL BECAUSE MORE ELEVATED. The Jewish dispensation was typical and prophetic, the Christian memorial. In foreshadowing more minuteness is required than in calling to mind. A traveller needs very little to recall the scenes he has witnessed, but the non-traveller requires much explanation. We have a full revelation, and do not therefore require scenic representation.

II. THE OLD WORSHIP WAS LARGELY DEFEATED. The people were constantly being entangled, worshipped God with their lips, their emotions were wrought upon, their devotions were dead.

III. THE OLD ECONOMY WAS STEREOTYPED, severe, uniform. We do not allow children liberty of action, and so in these old times, God prescribed to the child at school everything strictly; when Christ came a measure of liberty was granted from ceremonies.

IV. OUR SIMPLE WORSHIP BRINGS BEFORE US THE THINGS OF GOD IN THE LIGHT OF GOD'S TRUTH AND IN DEPENDENCE ON THE POWER OF GOD'S SPIRIT. When men are acted on by their senses they are apt to forget the end of all. A telescope is made to see the stars with, but if the astronomer's mind is occupied with the beauty of his instrument, its end is lost. So we need to be on the watch lest amusement and gratification shut out the true purpose of prayer.


1. Let all things be done in decency and order.

2. Unto edifying.

(Canon H. Stowell, M. A.)

1. The worship Christ here established involved a change — "The hour cometh."

2. It was a distinguishing kind of worship, separating the true worshippers from the false.

3. It was directed towards the Father as its object.

4. It originates in a work of grace — "seeketh."

5. Its nature is Spirit and Truth.


1. Before the Flood it was of the simple form; the outward ordinances were few, the chief of which were the offering of animal sacrifices. Connected with this, no doubt, was the meeting of gracious hearts for prayer, and also the ministration of truth since Enoch prophesied. But this worship was too spiritual. Cain commenced a schism, and set up taste and self as a guide in religious worship. The result was a general neglect of religion.

2. The patriarchal method. The head of the family offered sacrifice, and, as in the case of Job, household religion was maintained. But very early, although he could not forget God after the Deluge, man began to interpose visible objects between himself and God. The use of Teraphim became common even among those who had some knowledge of God. The nations being dispersed, soon lost the idea of the invisible, and worshipped idols.

3. The ceremonial form was instituted after the spiritual had broken down. This was suitable to the infancy of the Church, but is as unsuitable now as swaddling clothes would be to full grown men. But even while it existed it was spoken of as soon to be superseded, was frequently broken through by Divine authority, and had no visible thing to worship. In spite of it all, however, idolatry was the common sin of Israel, from which they had to be purged by the Captivity.

4. Since that day God has been treated in one of three ways —

(1)Adored by outward symbols, as among Brahmins, Romanists, etc;

(2)Worshipped through ritualism or unbending forms;

(3)Or neglected altogether for superstition. The lesson of all which is, that men will, if they can, find a substitute for God.

5. Christ comes to tell us now that His worship is wholly spiritual.


1. Because man has fallen, that as his body wants clothing so he is always dressing up his religion.

2. It is more difficult to worship God in spirit than in form.

3. To worship God spiritually men must part with their sins.

4. Men cannot traffic in spiritual religion.

III. WHY IS SUCH WORSHIP TO BE RENDERED? Why not with windmills, as in Thibet?

1. God seeks spiritual worship. To set up our own forms, therefore, is to insult God.

2. God is a spirit, otherwise it might be right to worship Him with material substances or something congenial to humanity.


1. Let us be particularly jealous of anything which looks like going back to ceremonialism.

2. Let us make it matter of heart searching as to whether this service has been ours.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. IN SPIRIT, as regards the inward power.

II. IN TRUTH, the outward form; the first strikes at hypocrisy, the last at idolatry.


We had gone out of doors, and are sent within. Go entirely within — and if perchance you seek some lofty place, some holy place, show yourself within a temple of God. For the temple of God is holy; which temple are ye? If you wish to pray in a temple, pray in yourself. But first be a temple of God, because He will hear the one who prays in His temple.

( Augustine.)

He that shall serve God, as a Spirit, in spirit and in truth; he that shall serve God, as Holy, with probity of manners; as Omniscient, with reverence of thought; as everywhere present, with composure of actions; as bountiful, with willingness of heart; as merciful, with imitating that mercy we hope for — such a one shows what Christianity is, and that it is the only standard of a "reasonable service" (Micah 6:6-8; Ephesians 5:1, 2).

(Dean Young.)

The expression is peculiar. There is something like it in the sentence, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost" (Luke 19:10). It seems to show the exceeding compassion of the Father, and His infinite willingness to save souls. He does not merely "wait" for men to come to Him. He "seeks" for them. It also shows the wide opening of God the Father's mercy under the gospel. He no longer confines His grace to the Jews. He now seeks and desires to gather in everywhere true worshippers out of every nation.

(Bp. Ryle.)

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