When you think about your place of worship what is the first thing that comes to mind? A steeple that stands out above a country side landscape? Is it a majestic stone walled cathedral that has been the community landmark for years? Most of us think of some distinct location with a man-made structure that invites worshippers on a given day(s) of the week.
We even see in the Old Testament where Moses was given instructions of a man made sanctuary in which the Israelites would gather to worship as they journeyed to the Promise Land. Even the Psalmist speaks of a place he would come to seek the God of his worship. Ps 63:1-3 O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory. 3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee.
But, the place of worship should never be dependent upon a physical location or structure made by man. When the veil was torn and Christ was raised from the dead and He was seated at the right hand of the Father the place of worship changed forever. Heb. 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; We have become the place of worship. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
If we were to turn to the gospel of John chapter 4 we would read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. She has come to draw water, but Jesus offers her living water with the promise that she would never thirst again. Our real issue in life is the same as this woman and the Psalmist in Psalms 63; our souls thirst for God! In a dry and weary (sin filled) land where there is no satisfaction; real worship is our only hope.
That worship is found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! In John 4, Jesus tells the woman; “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”(John 4:10) The gift of God comes to us through knowing Christ as our Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us and that drink of water we take at the moment of salvation becomes a well of water springing up to eternal life!
Those who park their cars in some parking lot and enter a man-made structure without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will always leave dissatisfied. Learning the formalities of worship cannot satisfy the longing of our hearts when it comes to worship. We are the temple of the living God; we are the place of worship!
The discussion between Jesus and the woman went to a debate of where we should worship as most discussions concerning worship usually migrate to. Here is Jesus’ answer. John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is seeking His true worshippers in the only place of worship that matters; your heart!