The gospel of John astonishes me every time I read it. I have only got to chapter 5, but I love the leisurely way it explains: “and this was Jesus’ second miracle”, compared with the gospel of Mark, where Jesus is doing miracles left, right and centre. There is a spaciousness and a peace about John’s gospel.
And we also have the incredible conversation that Jesus has in chapter 4 with a Samaritan woman. I still cannot get my head fully round what Jesus says in v.14: “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As Jesus says, His Spirit inside us gives us food and drink that is unlike any other food and drink. I had not noticed before that the disciples try to press food on him at this point: “Rabbi, eat.” I get the impression that they twitter around him like sparrows, anxious to ensure that their Master is keeping himself going. Perhaps Jesus did not always eat a vast amount of food. It was not his main motivator. Possibly unlike us, he did not spend one day to the next dreaming of his next meal and what it would be. The incentive of that takeaway or of an occasional luxury snack did not have the same pull for the Saviour. He looked forward to doing the Father’s will, instead. That was the cup that he chose to drink.
But also in this astonishing conversation, coming to the title of this blogpost, is the discussion on worship: “‘the hour is now coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he’.”
Worship has nothing to do with music and all to do with Jesus. When we get worship right, when we lift our eyes up and ponder: Who is this Jesus, this man, this God, this Lamb of God?! Even in ignorance, or even only half in awareness that it is He who are speaking to, we feel a tug and a pressing on our spirit. If we keep pushing in, keep looking up, keep crying out, then He comes even nearer, and we may be overwhelmed with his presence. The woman was so excited that she went and told everyone she knew that she had met Jesus. He stayed with them two days, and many more believed.
It can be in the oddest places that I feel this tug on my spirit. Music frequently does it, I have to say. Music stirs our emotions, and emotions are intimately connected with our spirit. If we get angry, or upset, or anxious, our spirit is stirred. When our spirit gets stirred, we are unsettled and we find it hard to function in our normal grooves. The world changes colour, becomes drab, or nauseous, and we need to be nudged back into peace. Worshipping in spirit and truth is knowing who Jesus is, and coming out of ourselves. The Father himself, the Creator of all things, the First and the Last, is looking for such worshippers to worship him.
Be a worshipper today. Allow your spirit to be tugged and drawn into the courts of the king. There’s no place I’d rather be. I’d rather be a doorkeeper in the house of our God than to be enthroned anywhere. I’d prefer to be completing chores, polishing the floors of heaven, than giving orders from any seat of authority. When the angels leave heaven to do his bidding, they long to be back in his glory. Every time Jesus did His Father’s will, he tasted the glory and love of his presence. My food is to do his will. I crave it more than I crave normal food. I crave his command and desire on my spirit. I live for it.