Gospel Meditation

“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.” Are we true worshippers? Do we praise and honor God the Father in the way Jesus described to the Samaritan woman at the well?

It seems that this woman was caught up in logistics about where to worship more than how to worship. Her people worshiped in one place, the Jews in another. She was puzzled by this and, even though she could see that Jesus was a prophet, she challenged him because she thought perhaps he wasn’t a true worshipper of God. The Lord’s response to her was to shift the focus away from a particular physical location for honoring God. In essence, he told her that what mattered was that we worship God by being filled with his Spirit, “the Spirit of truth, [who] will guide you to all truth,” as Jesus will say later in John’s Gospel (16:13). This woman, whose life was marked by such a sad string of broken relationships, had been missing the point.

Worshipping God means more than merely practicing a community ritual or frequenting a sacred site. If we don’t come to truly know God by welcoming his Spirit into our hearts, then our worship will be empty and our lives will always be missing something. The deep fulfillment that is meant to come from following the Lord is a fruit of being filled with his Spirit. Without drinking fully of this “living water” that is available to all of us through the waters of baptism, we will always be seeking something more, like this poor woman. Instead, may we be true worshippers, who drink with satisfaction from the Lord’s own “spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 © Liturgical Publications Inc