Jesus told the woman at the well that true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and truth. He didn’t say anything about hymns and Christmas carols. He didn’t collect an offering or read Scripture. He prepared no prayers, no liturgy, no Lord’s day service plans. And He mentioned nothing about table fellowship.
Perhaps, then, we have missed the mark and corrupted the simplicity of “spirit and truth” worship. Maybe all our liturgical efforts are heavy trappings, vain repetitions no better than the gnat-straining Pharisees and white hat-wearing Popes. But, hey, at least we have a gluten free option.
Let’s not let acquit ourselves too quickly. It is possible to attend services every week, sing Psalms and hear sermons straight out of Scripture, give sacrificially, even chew and drink these religious symbols and yet still be dead in spirit and without knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ.
Yet worship “in spirit and truth” tells us the nature of true worship, the realm of worship, not the activities of it. The How? we should do it doesn’t answer the What? we do.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the sacrifices that He called sometimes called abominable. His problem was first with the how of the heart and then the He wanted the what of worship obeyed as well. For that matter, Jesus Himself instituted the supper (Matthew 26:26-28). Paul received from the Lord the instructions he delivered (1 Corinthians 11:23).
We come in obedience to this ordinance, this divine order, to celebrate and proclaim salvation in the Lord’s death and resurrection. By faith, we come with living spirits, “in spirit.” We eat and drink because He made us alive and this meal nourishes our souls. Likewise, we come “in truth.” The substitutionary sacrifice of the Lamb is good news, the imperishable seed of truth. Jesus is the truth, the revelation of God in bodily form. Believers eat and drink at this spirit and truth table and, when they do, it is true worship.