Kids Talk About God
Chapter 17 cover: Worship in Spirit and Truth

Worship in Spirit and Truth

John 4:15-26

15 The woman said to Jesus, “Sir, give me this water. Then I will never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to get more water.”

16 Jesus told her, “Go get your husband and come back.”

17 The woman answered, “But I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You are right to say you have no husband. 18 That’s because, although you have had five husbands, the man you live with now is not your husband. That much was the truth.”

19 The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.37  20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.”

21 Jesus said, “Believe me, woman! The time is coming when you will not have to be in Jerusalem or on this mountain to worship the Father. 22 You Samaritans worship something you don’t understand. We Jews understand what we worship, since salvation comes from the Jews. 23 But the time is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. In fact, that time is now here. And these are the kind of people the Father wants to be his worshipers. 24 God is spirit. So the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that the Messiah38 is coming.” (He is the one called Christ.39) “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26 Then Jesus said, “He is talking to you now—I am the Messiah.”

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374:19 prophet A prophet often knows things that are hidden to other people.
38Messiah A Hebrew word that has the same meaning as the Greek word Christ (see “Christ”). It was a title for the kings of God’s people in the Old Testament and for the special king God promised to send as a “savior” to defeat evil and establish the reign of God. Many prophets made it clear that this new kingdom would be eternal; that is, not only would the promised Messiah bring about a time of justice and right living among God’s people here on earth, but his kingdom would extend beyond this world to life forever with God. However, most Jews of the first century expected the Messiah to be a political ruler here on earth who would defeat the other nations and return the nation of Israel to a position of great glory and power. But God intended his Messiah to establish a new “Israel,” an eternal kingdom that would bless all the nations.
39Christ Literally, “Anointed,” a title that comes from the Old Testament ceremony in which perfumed oil was poured or rubbed on someone being appointed to a high office, especially that of prophet, priest, or king, to show that this person was chosen by God for that role. The Hebrew word is “Messiah,” a title used for Old Testament kings and for the one God would send as prophet, priest, and king to bring people back to a good relationship with him.
How do you worship God in spirit and truth?

“I worship in truth by reading the word of God and having faith that the word of God is 100 percent true, and that God is within me.” Grace, 10

“I worship God in Spirit and truth mostly by singing and praying.” Rebecca, 6

“You can worship God anywhere! I can even worship God in my bedroom by praying to him, thanking God for my sisters, brothers and toys, or asking him for help when people are mean.” Karris, 5

When you talk to people about Christ, sometimes they will want to talk about something that really isn’t important. Don’t argue with them about unimportant things. As we see in Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, he knew how to talk with people about what was important.

The people who lived in Samaria thought that Mount Gerizim was the place to worship. This is the mountain where Abraham offered a sacrifice to God. It was located in Samaria. The Jews believed that the temple in Jerusalem was the place commanded by God to worship.

Even though the Jews were correct in saying that the Jerusalem temple was the place of worship, Jesus said the “hour” was coming “when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23b).

In that hour when Jesus died on the cross, he made the perfect sacrifice for our sins. That changed everything. The animals that Jerusalem priests offered to God could never take away sin. At best, they were a temporary covering for sin.

When Jesus was in the garden praying just before he was arrested and crucified for our sins, he prayed: “Father, the time has come. Give glory to your Son so that the Son can give glory to you” (John 17:1).

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that the place of worship doesn’t matter any more. It’s the condition of the heart that matters. Those who worship God must worship him “in spirit and truth.”

Jesus himself is the truth about God. Animal sacrifices taught people that a sacrifice needed to be made for their sins. Because people kept sinning, the temple priests kept making animal sacrifices year after year.

Jesus is the reality to which the animal sacrifices pointed. Jesus let the Roman soldiers nail him to a cross so that he could offer himself to God as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because the sacrifice of Jesus was so perfect, he only needed to offer himself one time to pay for the sins of the entire world.

Sometimes pastors call a church building the house of God. That is not correct. God doesn’t live in buildings. Before Jesus died, God’s presence filled the Jerusalem temple with his glory.

Today, God lives in all who trust the Lord Jesus as their savior. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus once walked in a place called Palestine. Now he lives in the bodies of millions of Christians all over the world. He wants to live his life through you. Life becomes an adventure when God is free to live through you!

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). Like most people, the woman thought of worship as something physical such as the place of worship. There is nothing wrong with physical or material stuff. God created the physical stuff of this world. When God sent his Son into the world, he entered the world in the form of a flesh and blood physical baby.

Even though God created this world and the entire universe, he is not limited by it. God is Spirit, which means he is invisible. Although we live in a physical body, our real self is invisible (soul and spirit). When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they died spiritually, but remained alive physically for several hundred years.

“And the Lord God gave him this command: ‘You may eat from any tree in the garden. But you must not eat from the tree that gives knowledge about good and evil. If you eat fruit from that tree, on that day you will certainly die!’” (Genesis 2:16-17).

When you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of you. You were spiritually dead to God, but now you’re spiritually alive forever.

A radio in a car won’t play music if it doesn’t have an antenna to receive the signal from the radio station. People who are not born again don’t have God’s Spirit living in them. They are like the car radio without an antenna.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. He will teach us how to let Jesus live through us. We need to learn how to hear the voice of God through Bible study, prayer and being quiet. If there is too much noise in your life, you can’t hear God speak.

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman clearly that he is the Messiah. Jesus is God’s answer to the sin of the world.

Think about this: The condition of your heart (the inner condition of your soul) is far more important to God than things you do to serve God.

Memorize this truth: “God is spirit. So the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Ask this question: Are you worshipping God in spirit and truth?

Draw something to go with the headline.
Chapter 17 Bible coloring page: Worship in Spirit and Truth

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