“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” —John 4:24
This is by no means a detailed or exhaustive list of all elements contained in true worship; nevertheless, as a brief exposition of what the Lord Jesus Christ has presented as true spiritual worship during His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, I suggest that the following elements would most certainly exist.
TRUE WORSHIP is centered in the holiness of the Word of God. Jesus prayed unto the Father in the garden on the night He was betrayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17; cf. John 4:24). If it is true worship, it will be centered in the truth of God’s Word.
TRUE WORSHIP is spiritual, and therefore, its truth must be spiritually discerned among redeemed believers. Scripture tells us, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14; cf. John 4:24).
TRUE WORSHIP reveals our mortality from God’s Word against God’s everlasting truth in Christ, providing a perspective of the eternal, as well as the satisfying fulfillment that comes from Christ alone. At the well, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
TRUE WORSHIP confronts our sinful nature head-on from God’s Word. Jesus told the woman, “Go, call thy husband, and come hither” (John 4:16). It doesn’t mealy-mouth; neither does it sidestep the issue. We should take note that it is also a direct confrontation by the Spirit’s work. One who did not know this woman would not recognize that the Lord’s statement itself pricked her heart with conviction (cf. John 16:8-11), except the Word of God presents her response that followed.
TRUE WORSHIP prompts humility and honesty because of God’s Word; that is, if it is an efficacious work of our Lord Jesus Christ. The woman responded to the word of our Lord Jesus, “I have no husband” (John 4:17).
TRUE WORSHIP reveals our sin through God’s Word. Jesus directly addresses her very specific sin, “Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly” (John 4:17-18).
TRUE WORSHIP will compel us to testify of the Lord Jesus Christ unto others. The Samaritan woman went into the city and told others, saying, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ” (John 4:29).