19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where one ought to worship is in Jerusalem [at the temple].” 21 Jesus replied, “Woman, believe Me, a time is coming[when God’s kingdom comes] when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You [Samaritans] do not know what you worship; we [Jews] do know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.24 God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
To truly worship God you must know Him on a personal level. Jesus tells the woman that you Samaritans worship what you do not know. One of the main hindrances of worship is trying to worship a God whom you do not know. Many people know about God but they do not know Him. Because of that they then come up with ways in which they worship this God they know about, ways that are not in the prescribed way that God must be worshiped. Knowing God is not about head knowledge, to know Him takes revelation from the Holy Spirit. When Jesus asked Peter “But who do you say that I am” in Matthew 16, Peter replied and said “You are the Christ” and Jesus said “Flesh and blood has not revealed that to you but my father in heaven.” To know God takes revelation from the Holy Spirit. Christ could be standing right in front of us and we fail to recognize Him just like with the Samaritan woman. The question you need to ask yourself is “Do I know Him or do I know about Him?”
When you do not know Him then you fall back on the traditions of men that dictate to you what you must do and how you must do it because this is the way it has always been done. Like the woman, worship to you becomes a tradition. We do it this way because our fathers always did it this way. Our fathers always worshiped on this mountain. Worship then becomes a task you perform, a task that you are not necessarily connected to, a task that becomes something you do so that you can feel good about yourself, a task that is empty because it has to be done at a specific time and place and once it is done then you go back to your life so to speak.
God is seeking true worshipers, those who will worship Him in spirit, from the heart and inner self, those who will worship Him in truth because they know Him on a personal level.
Are you one of them?