Chapter One


'But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father is seeking such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'  (John 4:23-24).


The eternal plan and purpose of God concerning mankind has two main characteristics.  The first characteristic is to seek and to save that which was lost, and the second is to seek for worshippers.  The Lord Jesus told His disciples, '...the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost', (Luke 19:10).  If this was the only plan and purpose of God for mankind, it would be the greatest plan ever made and worthy of the eternal God. Yet God's plan and purpose was greater than this. Being saved from sin was never meant to be an end in itself.  Many Christians do not rise above this level.  They are content to live their Christian life purely in the knowledge that their sins have been forgiven and that they will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord.  They are unaware that there is a higher calling; the call to worship.  Jesus revealed the higher calling to worship when He spoke to a Samaritan woman by Jacob's well.  He told the woman that the Father is seeking for worshippers.

The discourse of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (John 4:4-42) reveals the heart of the Father in seeking worshippers.   In this conversation Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman concerning the two main characteristics of the eternal plan and purpose of God.  He began talking to her by asking her for a drink, and then drew her attention to the need for living water that only He could provide.  It was the Samaritan woman who was the first to mention the theme of worship.  She regarded the worship of God as something that divided the Jews from the Samaritans.  But it was the Holy Spirit who was leading the conversation, and the words of the woman revealed her desire to worship.  Jesus spoke to her concerning the higher calling to worship that broke across racial and social barriers. 

The Lord is no respecter of persons

The call to worship has no regard to persons.  There is no higher calling than the call to worship, and so it is interesting to consider who the woman was that the Lord was talking to when he spoke the words recorded in John 4:23-24. These are some of the most wonderful words in the New Testament.   Yet the woman he spoke to was an outcast by race because she was a Samaritan, and her life was a mess.  She had been married five times and now lived in sin with a man she was not married to.  We can understand Jesus speaking to her about salvation from sin, but Jesus spoke to her about more than this.  He told her about the very heart of God that is seeking worshippers.  

Why did Jesus speak these words to this woman and not to His disciples?  Of course Jesus did tell these words to His disciples afterwards or how else could John have written about them?  What was Jesus doing?  He was telling the Samaritan woman that the Father was seeking worshippers so that she would become an example of who a true worshipper is.  His disciples would understand that the Samaritan woman was one of the worshippers that the Father was seeking.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, the Holy Spirit bore witness through the gifts of the Holy Spirit to who Jesus is.  Her eyes were not opened by a great work of power; the Holy Spirit moved through a word of knowledge concerning her personal life, and it was this gift of the Spirit that opened her eyes to see that Jesus was more than a Jewish man and more than a prophet.  How did Jesus reveal Himself to her?  He told her to call her husband and when she answered that she had no husband, Jesus said she had spoken correctly, ‘For you have had five husbands; and he who you now have is not your husband’. (John 4:18).

Some may say that Jesus knew all about the woman because He is the Son of God but if Jesus ministered through His inherent power as the Son of God then His disciples could never be like Him. Peter says that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.’ (Acts 10:38).  Jesus only ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. He laid aside His inherent power as the Son of God when He became man.  This is why He could say to His disciples: 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.' (John 14:12).  He knew that the same power and the same anointing would be upon those who would believe on Him.  The Lord drew the Samaritan woman to Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  People need to be drawn to Christ in the same way today.  The gifts, ministries and energising power of the Holy Spirit will always glorify Jesus, and it is only those who are worshippers who can truly minister in the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

Jesus was drawing the Samaritan woman to Himself.  Her life could never be the same after her encounter with Jesus.  The excitement of her heart is seen in that she left her water pot at the well and became a witness to bring people to Jesus.  She called out: 'Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?'  (John 4:29).  Her words and actions show that she desired to know Him. She was not yet a worshipper, but she was being drawn to the Lord and this is the first stage in worship.  She was like the woman in the Song of Solomon who said of her beloved: 'Draw me, we will run after you: the king has brought me into his chambers:  we will be glad and rejoice in you, we will remember your love more than wine: the upright love you.'  (Song of Solomon 1:4).  She had met the One her heart longed for at the well.

The conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman shows that those who are looked upon as the lowest in society can reach the greatest heights in the high calling to worship. The First Epistle of Peter says that we who belong to the Lord were once outcasts like the Samaritan woman, but now we have been called to worship:  'But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.'  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Many Christians who have been saved for a long time have never become worshippers.  They are truly saved, but their relationship with the Lord is outside of worship.   They are followers, but not worshippers.  The amazing truth is that a young believer in Christ can come into a relationship in worship that is far above the level of many that have been believers for a long time.  The depth of our relationship with the Lord will be determined by how much we desire Him.  David the Psalmist had one desire and that was to 'see the beauty of the Lord'.  He was a worshipper.  This was his highest calling far above his call to be a king. 'One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.'  (Psalms 27:4)

The Father is still seeking worshippers.  The call to worship is the highest calling of God.  Yet God is no respecter of persons and He has opened the way for the lowliest person in society to become mighty in worship.  The Lord revealed this wonderful truth to a woman who was an outcast and living in immorality.  Her excitement at hearing the words of Jesus made her an effective witness in bringing others to Jesus, and this was the first step towards becoming a worshipper. The worshipper never loses the excitement of knowing Jesus, and the prayer of his or her heart will always be to know Him more. Paul wrote many years after his first Damascus Road encounter with the Lord that his desire was, ‘That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;’ (Philippians 3:10). The depth of our worship will always depend upon the closeness of our relationship with the Lord Jesus.


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