Introduction: Imagine being able to ask Jesus what He thought was
the most important points of worship. Would that not be grand?
Well, it turns out that we have exactly that already recorded in the
Bible. Let’s plunge right into our study of the Bible and find out

  1. The Hostile Stranger

    1. Read John 4:1-3. It sounds like Jesus is winning the
      baptism contest! Why would He leave, just when He is
      winning? (This is not a contest, it is unwelcome
      attention. The Pharisees are now changing their focus to
      make Jesus the main “enemy.” Jesus decided it was best to

    2. Read John 4:4. The direct route to Galilee is through
      Samaria. The Jews and Samaritans did not like each other
      because the Jews thought the Samaritans were inferior.
      So, Jews would often bypass Samaria. Why do you think the
      Bible says Jesus “had” to go through Samaria? (Perhaps
      the Holy Spirit directed Him to pass through Samaria.)

    3. Read John 4:5-8. It is about noon. Why would Jesus stay
      at the well instead of going with the disciples to buy
      food? (Again, this suggests that the Holy Spirit is
      directing Him to be here.)

    4. Read John 4:9. Have you ever tried to have a conversation
      with someone and they want to turn it into a political or
      racial issue? What does this tell you about this
      Samaritan woman? (She wants to be obnoxious.)

      1. Let’s assume that the Holy Spirit is leading Jesus
        to have this discussion. How would you react?
        “Thanks, Holy Spirit, I needed a verbal slap in the

      2. Would you be tempted to respond, “Stop the nonsense.
        I’m just thirsty!”

  2. Evangelizing With Living Water

    1. Read John 4:10. Do you think that Jesus is really
      thirsty, or is He just trying to start a conversation?

      1. Where is Jesus trying to lead the conversation? (To
        His mission on earth.)

    2. Read John 4:11-12. The answer to her question about
      Jesus and Jacob is “Yes.” Do you think the woman meant
      this as a question? (No. She accuses him of being crazy –
      detached from reality.)

    3. Read John 4:13-15. Has the woman suddenly changed her
      attitude towards Jesus? (It seems so.)

      1. Why do you think this happened? How can we go from
        hostile to curious? (The power of God.)

      2. Do you have friends and acquaintances who are
        hostile to God, and therefore hostile to you?

        1. What lesson can we learn about sharing the
          gospel with hostile people?

      3. Let’s go back and consider Jesus’ comments. What
        water is Jesus speaking about?

        1. Read John 7:37-39. Jesus offers us what He
          offered to this woman. Have you accepted?

        2. What would a life look like that had “streams
          of living water flow from” it?

          1. Jesus uses the symbolism of water for a
            reason. What does water do? (It refreshes.
            It makes things alive. It makes things

          2. Is this your life? Do you energize those
            around you? Do you refresh others? Do you
            help them to grow spiritually?

          3. Imagine a whole church filled with people
            pouring out streams of living water! How
            would that kind of worship look?

    4. Read John 4:16-18. Last week we learned that God said
      that He would listen to us when we sought Him with all
      our heart, and He would not listen to those who rejected
      Him even though they shouted in His ear. This is an
      immoral woman. If the Holy Spirit has directed this
      meeting, why? (There is a difference between those who
      are actively turning their back on God and promoting
      false worship, and those who are simply mired in sin.)

      1. Why did Jesus point out her sin? (He showed her that
        He knew the truth – something no stranger could
        possibly know. He was not a crazy person. Plus, God
        probes us in our area of spiritual weakness.)

    5. Read John 4:19-20. The woman acknowledges that Jesus is
      someone special, but then changes the subject. Why? (That
      woman is like us. We run into someone who is spiritually
      discerning, and we want to talk about the grand
      theological issues that separate our church from others,
      we don’t want to talk about the sin in our own lives!)

  3. Jesus Counsel on True Worship

    1. Read John 4:21. Jesus goes along with the woman’s
      attempt to change the subject to grand spiritual issues.
      Isn’t the correct answer that people should be worshiping
      in Jerusalem? (Read 1 Timothy 2:8. Jerusalem would soon
      be destroyed. The sanctuary system on earth would be
      fulfilled with Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection. Jesus
      points to a time where everyone everywhere should lift up
      hands in prayer and worship of God!)

    2. Read John 4:22. Jesus says salvation is from the Jews,
      why? Isn’t this insulting to her? (The Jews had the
      sanctuary system which pointed to Jesus. Jesus was Jewish
      in His humanity.)

    3. Read John 4:23-24. We come to Jesus’ timeless counsel on
      worship! Let’s explore what it means to worship God in
      “spirit and truth.” Does the phrase “God is spirit, and
      His worshipers must worship in spirit” make any sense to

      1. Let’s rephrase this in a similar context: “Your
        father is a man, you must speak to him like a man.”
        “Your mother is a woman, you must speak to her like
        a woman.” What would that teach us about addressing
        our parents?

      2. Let’s read Matthew 28:18-19. In this text Jesus
        tells us that God is more than Spirit, He is also
        Father and Son. What is Jesus saying to us in John
        4:24 about worshiping God in “Spirit?” (On a very
        basic level, God is different from false gods
        because He is not an idol and is not limited to one
        place. This logically follows Jesus’ answer to the
        question about the location of worship. You can
        worship God anywhere. On a deeper level, Jesus is
        telling us that the Holy Spirit is central to

    4. Read John 16:7-15. Which part of the Godhead, according
      to Jesus, is going to be on point in dealing with humans?
      (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. If the Holy Spirit is central to worship, what is
        the level of involvement of the Holy Spirit in your

      2. I have some dear friends in my church who use the
        term “Pentecostal” as a negative term. If something
        is “Pentecostal,” it is obviously wrong, and
        therefore just to label something as Pentecostal
        settles the argument. The Holy Spirit came in power
        at Pentecost (Acts 2). Do my friends, and those who
        agree with them, need to adjust their thinking on
        this subject? (I think so!)

    5. Let’s look at the second part of John 4:24. The first
      component of true worship is Spirit. What does it mean to
      worship “in truth?”

      1. Read 1 Corinthians 14:22-25. What does the Bible say
        about Pentecostal gifts? (That they should be used
        intelligently. When we read 1 Corinthians chapters
        12-14 we learn that the church in Corinth was
        overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul
        says this is to be tempered with “truth.” Recall
        that in John 16:13 the Holy Spirit is to lead us
        into “truth.” Paul does not tell the Corinthians
        they are involved with demonic powers. Rather, he
        says our use of the Spirit should show common sense:

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. What lesson is Paul
        giving us about the Holy Spirit? (No message from
        the Holy Spirit is going to contradict the gospel.
        The prophets of the Old Testament, Jesus’ words, and
        the prophets of the New Testament are all going to
        be consistent with the Holy Spirit today because
        they have the same source.)

      3. Read 1 Corinthians 14:18-20. Are these “brothers”
        influenced by demons? (No. This is an extremely
        important point. Believers can misuse the Holy
        Spirit. They can speak and write like children. We
        don’t have to conclude that just because someone
        misused the Spirit of God that it was demonic. It
        might just be foolishness.)

      4. Several times I’ve had Pentecostal friends say that
        unless the Holy Spirit speaks to them on a Bible
        issue, they will not change their mind. Is this
        appropriate? (We learned that the Holy Spirit will
        lead us into truth, but the Bible is the Word of
        God. If the Bible is clear, the Spirit is speaking
        to us.)

    6. Friend, is your worship in “Spirit and truth?” Some
      churches are so far into “truth” that they quench the
      Spirit. Some churches are so far into the “Spirit” that
      they quench the truth. Will you pray that you and your
      church will worship fully in Spirit and truth?

  4. Next week: Worship in the Early Church.