Summary: Everyone worships. But who and how we worship makes an eternal difference. Because of Jesus’ love for us, we worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
Big Idea: Because of Jesus’ unconditional love for us, we can be totally transparent and totally vulnerable before God our heavenly Father.
Ice-breaker question: What is the most amazing that anyone (besides Jesus) has ever done for you?
Read: John 4:16-26
Observation (What does the passage say?)
1. What does Jesus say about the woman’s marital status?
2. What does the woman say to Jesus after she recognizes that he is a prophet?
3. What does Jesus say when he tells us who true worshipers will worship and how they will worship?
4. Both the Samaritans and the Jews had special places designated for worship (Mount Gerizim and Jerusalem respectively). What did Jesus say is going to happen regarding where we worship?
Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)
5. Though the Samaritan woman did not tell Jesus everything about her marital status, she did tell the truth in what she did say to Jesus about this. Why is this significant?
6. What information about her past, or present, might have made it difficult for the woman to be truthful to Jesus?
When the woman recognizes that Jesus is a prophet, she makes a statement about the different locations designated for worship by the Jews and the Samaritans. Having revealed to her one truth (the full story of her marital history), the woman may have been looking for another (which of these two religions, Samaritan and Jewish, is the true one).
Jesus says that Jews know and worship the right “who” to worship. But then he goes beyond that and identifies the right “how” to worship – in spirit and in truth – which is something that can happen anywhere. So the location of worship is no longer as significant.
Worshiping in spirit implies that we are totally open before God, worshiping him directly with our inner being. Worshiping in truth implies that we are totally transparent before God, worshiping with a clear awareness of our sin and a total dependence on God’s grace.
7. How is being open and transparent before God different from the way that people usually worship God?
8. Why do some people not worship God with openness and transparency?
9. What was it about Jesus that moved the woman to be open and transparent before him?
Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)
10. How can Jesus’ unconditional love help you to be more open and transparent before God?
11. What are some ways you can remind yourself of Jesus’ unconditional love for you?