After John the Baptist witnesses concerning Christ in chapter 3:22-36, we see Christ leaving Judea and then departing again to Galilee through Samaria. he arrives at sychar, a city of Samaria, near the plot of ground where Jacob gave his son, Joseph. the text says in verse 6 that jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being weary from his journey, sat down by the well. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. In verse 7, Jesus said to her “give me a drink” (peep his humanity—thirsting for water). At this time the disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. the woman was surprised that Jesus asked her for a drink because she was a Samaritan woman (and Jesus was jewish). this was seen as taboo to the women and to the cultural norm for a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public and then to ask for water, especially a Samaritan. The Samaritans were looked down on because they were a mixed race (combination of jewish and non-jewish), nor did they worship in Jerusalem like the Jews. They worshiped at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria and were considered heretics by the Jews (read 1 Kings 16:24for the whole scoop).
Jesus pointed her towards his deity (divine nature) in verse 10 by calling himself the “living water” and stating that if she would receive him she would never thirst again. he expressed in verse 14 the temporary satisfaction of earthly water. it may be that the women did not quite understand the depth of what Jesus was saying, so he went on in verse 16 to discuss sinful aspects of her life to bring home, her need for a savior—which was himself. she was amazed at his knowledge of her life and concluded that he had to have been a prophet. with this conclusion, she wondered why Jesus, being Jewish, was in Samaria rather than Jerusalem. Jesus began to explain in verse 21 that “…the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the father.” believers will one day worship from everywhere. Jesus then began to inform her that she worships what she does not know. this is the key point of the passage. the Samaritans did not know God because they did not have the full revelation of him and thus could not worship in truth. (John 4:22)
I want to emphasize that God has to be worshiped with the proper information in mind or revelation. the Samaritans knew of God and the old testament Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the old testament), but did not have the complete and full revelation of God and thus leading Jesus to say “you worship what you do not know…”
We must know who we are worshiping. this knowledge can only come from the accurate teaching of scripture. Paul believed that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day because of the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). even the disciples believed what the scriptures had to say about Christ rising from the dead (John 2:22). this is why we need the bible taught in accuracy. it is crucial to our worship.
Jesus did not stop there. He continued by saying in verse 23-24 “but the hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth; for the father is seeking such to worship him. God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” we must know how to worship. we are to worship as true worshippers. this means worship would no longer be associated with particular shrines or locations only. their worship to the father would be through the son. as John MacArthur notes, “with Christ’s coming, previous distinctions between true and false worshippers based on locations disappeared. true worshippers are all those everywhere who worship God through the son, from the heart (Phil. 3:3).” we must also worship inwardly in our hearts, rather than through religious rituals at church. worshipping in truth refers to the worship of God who is consistent with scripture and centered on the “word made flesh” who ultimately revealed his father (John 14:6).
Conclusion: we must not forget that the scriptures are God breathe (inspired by God—2 Tim. 3:16). we must keep it as God’s final word on issues. this will result in mature, healthy Christians who properly worship and glorify our God.