"'Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.'
Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth'" (John 4:20-24, NASB).
At this point in the story of Jesus talking with the woman at the well, Jesus could have gone into a lengthy conversation about the differences in their religious practices. Instead, He changed the conversation from one about religion into one about the relationship she could have with the Father.
There were many differences between Jews (like Jesus) and Samaritans (like this woman) in that day. Samaritans had some practices that were uncommon to Jewish folk, and some customs and ways they worshiped God were different. Yet, Jesus decided to continue the conversation and focus the discussion on this woman's relationship with God.
If someone does not know Jesus as their Savior, then how would they follow Him?
If someone does not genuinely believe that God is who He says He is, then should they be expected to love God?
This woman needed a life change, but Jesus saw that this would happen through a relationship with Him where she finds her life in God. Our faith in Jesus, this relationship we have with God and the Holy Spirit's power from Him is what enables us to grow and mature in living for Him. Let us approach others with this same consideration, helping them see the importance of a relationship with God made possible by the lovingkindness and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).