Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.John 4:21(NASB)
Like the whole of humanity, this woman's sin caused eternal separation from her Creator, but on one special visit to Jacob's well she found herself face to face with God incarnate. His eyes penetrated deep within her hurting heart, and Jesus knew that He was all she needed. She needed to drink of the living water of life that only comes by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who alone paid the price for her sin - and ours.
Although she must have been appalled at Christ's intimate knowledge of her sordid, secret, sinful past, this woman was prepared to admit her wrongdoing and acknowledge her need of a Saviour. When God convicts a man or woman of their sin, their reaction will lead to a confession of sinfulness or a hardening of the heart.
Though some see the woman's question on the place and purpose of worship as evading the sin-issue at hand, others see her response as a genuine, heart-enquiry of how she might be forgiven of her sins and brought back into sweet fellowship with the God of Israel. She was to come to realise that there is salvation in no other name than Jesus, for salvation has come through the Jews, in the person of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
It was Israel who had a God, and Israel who had the Temple of God with their daily sacrifices and many feast days. It was Israel who was entrusted with God's Word which was spoken through the mouth of God's holy prophets. It was Israel who alone received God's adoption, His covenants, His Law, His promises, and His prophesied Messiah.
But the shadow of the Cross fell over this conversation, as Christ told this woman that a day was soon coming when worship of God would take place: "Neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem."
True worship would no longer be limited to Mount Moriah or the Jewish Temple: "An hour was coming (and is now here) when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, and the Father is seeking such people to worship Him."
The hour that was coming was that pivotal point in history, when time and eternity met and heaven's hosts must have silenced their praises in astonishment. The time was fast approaching when there would be a new and perfect sacrifice, a new living Temple made without hands, a new birth, a new creation, a new dispensation when those that worship God would worship Him in spirit and in truth. Jesus knew that when He was lifted up, all earthly temples, buildings, and mountain tops would become inconsequential, for men would worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
A moment was arriving when the old covenant would be set aide and a new covenant would be cut, by means of the precious blood of the perfect Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world so much, that You sent Your only begotten Son to be Saviour of the world so that all who believe on Him would not perish but drink of the eternal water of life that only flows from Him. Thank You for my new life in Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thank You that I am a living stone that is being built up into the Temple of God, which is not made with hands, and thank You that one day You are coming back as Israel’s king and as Saviour of the world. Help me to worship You in spirit and truth, moment by moment. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.