I have been in many conversations about worship, and music is almost always included in the conversation. Interestingly enough, John 4:1-38 usually comes up in a discussion about worship. Knowing that, what truths can we derive from this powerful passage of scripture about what worship is, and what it's not? How can we become the true worshipers that the Father desires? How does it affect our worship leading?
Most of us will agree that John 4:1-38 is about worship. However, we donít see anything about music mentioned. We read that the Samaritan woman has a life-changing and important conversation with Jesus, a Jew at the well. Jesus first asks her for a drink of water, which is an uncommon practice for a Jew to even talk to a Samaritan, let alone ask one for anything. Then Jesus proceeds to tell the woman that He has water that she can drink and will never thirst again. Arousing her curiosity further, Jesus reveals her past. The Samaritan woman discerns that Jesus is a prophet and proceeds to tell him that Jews say their place of worship is the proper and the only place to worship. The Samaritan woman wanted to know, ďWhatís up with that, Jesus?Ē
As I meditated on this story, I saw for the first time that this woman is much like you and I. She represents a place where Godís people can find themselves and remain for years. We remain in a position of stale repetition in worship to God. We have not embraced the true Biblical foundation of why we are worshiping and to whom. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that the Samaritans worship what they do not know and comprehend. However, the Jews worship what they have knowledge of. But, a time will come when the true worshipers, whether Jew or Samaritan, will worship in spirit and in truth.
The Message Bible has the best rendering Iíve found in explaining what worship is. It reads, ďItís who you are and the way you live that counts before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth.Ē Thatís the kind of people the Father is looking for, those who are simple and honest with themselves before Him in their worship. God is sheer being itself - Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.Ē
So you see, worship isnít music at all. Music is just a tool, an expression of the soul to our God based on truth. To know truth is to love God. To love God is to lay naked before Him and not be ashamed. Youíll give Him everything you have... your heart, soul and mind, and your music. Youíll give him your religious practices, your church building, and your lifestyle. Youíll stand firm when programs and situations go left. You will then have something solid to compare with. Thatís the true worshiper the Father seeks.
Placing God first in your life will add newness in your walk with Christ. You will start to walk as Jacob did when he came in contact with the Angel of the Lord at Bethel (Gen.32:22-31). People will notice that you are different and will start to ask you questions about the God you serve and have a relationship with. When you open your mouth, you canít help but talk about Him. His praise will continually flow out of your mouth. Youíll see everything through the eyes of love for your Savior, Lord, Friend, and Lover of your soul.
Hereís where the rubber meets the road. As a Worship Leader, are you content with the way in which you lead worship? Are you locked into the tradition of your church denomination, your pastor, your congregation, and the deacons or elders? Do you lead out of a spirit based on truth? As a worshiper, are you in some ways like the Samaritan woman, content in your worship practices? Do you really know the One that you represent each week and throughout the day? Do you have a life that shows it? The Samaritan woman was sure that her religious practices (including her music) and lifestyle was acceptable to God until she came face to face with the truth. How will you meet the challenge and raise your standard of worship in your situation and personal life?