“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:21-24
Discussions and disputes over worship go way back in time. You could even make a case that Cain killed Abel over a worship dispute, because God accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's.
Jesus refused to take the bait and didn't get into a debate with her. Instead, He got to the heart of the issue and told her that worship is an issue of the heart. Worship involves "spirit and truth". The state of your heart is much more important than the style of your worship.
But, the fact is, we are creatures of comfort and we all have a style of worship that seems more comfortable to us. You could argue that is not right but you can't deny that it is how people are. There have probably been more people who have left churches over the issue of worship and music style than those who left because of doctrinal errors.
Who is to say which style is the best? Hymns, hymnals, organs and choirs or worship songs, praise bands, praise teams and powerpoint - which pleases God?
What pleases God is not the style of the worship but the spirit in which worship is done. The style of worship God prefers is sincere worship - worship where your spirit connects with God's Spirit. And the only way that your spirit can connect with the Spirit of God is if you are anchored in His truth and seeking new truth.
The goal of worship is not to look good or feel good but it is to honor a great God by celebrating His goodness in your life.
This woman who met Jesus at the well didn't let her ideas about the right way to worship to get in the way of encountering God. She was seeking truth and when she met the Truth, she put away her notions of worship and enjoyed His presence.
Because she was more open to receiving truth than preserving a tradition, her life was transformed and she was converted to a true worshipper.
Have you ever let your traditionalism or your spiritual comfort zone or personal preference keep you from truly encountering God's presence?
Will you ask God to help you understand what it means to worship Him in "spirit and in truth?"