John 4:20
Our forefathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where one must worship is in Jerusalem."
Sermons
Chance in the Divine EconomyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:1-42
Characteristics of Christ Displayed in This ConversationBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ Abolishing PrejudicesLange.John 4:1-42
Christ and the SamaritansH. Burton, M. A.John 4:1-42
Christ and the WomanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Christ and the Woman of SamariaCaleb Morris.John 4:1-42
Christ At Jacob's WellCarl Keogh, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ Driven AwayJeremiah Dyke.John 4:1-42
Christ in His Human Weakness and Divine ExaltationLange.John 4:1-42
Christ's Gentleness with the FallenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christ's RequestBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Commendable EnthusiasmDr. Guthrie.John 4:1-42
Connection Between the Conversations with the Woman of Samaria and with NicodemusBp. Westcott.John 4:1-42
He Left JudaeaW. H. Dixon., Canon Westcott.John 4:1-42
In the Path of ChristJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Influence After DeathH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Its HistoryBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Well a TypeL. R. Bosanquet.John 4:1-42
Jacob's Welt an Emblem of the SanctuaryR. H. Lovell.John 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the WellSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:1-42
Jesus At the Well of SycharJames G. Vose.John 4:1-42
Jesus Found At the WellJohn 4:1-42
Jesus Sitting on the WellC. H. SpurgeonJohn 4:1-42
No Sympathy Without SufferingBoswell.John 4:1-42
Our Attitude Towards SamariaW. Hawkins.John 4:1-42
Providence Shown in ConversionsJ. Flavel.John 4:1-42
Sat Thus on the WellF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
Soul-Winning TactBible Society ReportJohn 4:1-42
Subsidiary PointsH. J. Van Dyke, D. D.John 4:1-42
Suffering Begets SympathyJ. Trapp.John 4:1-42
Tact and Kindness Will Win SoulsJohn 4:1-42
The Appropriateness of the Place for the PurposeJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The ConferenceJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Drawer of WaterJ. R. Macduff; D. D.John 4:1-42
The First Visit to SamariaG. D. Boardman, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Interior of the WellLieut. S. Anderson, R. E.John 4:1-42
The Jewish Treatment of WomenS. S. TimesJohn 4:1-42
The Journey to SamariaA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The LocalityF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:1-42
The Lost One Met and SavedJ. Gill.John 4:1-42
The Model TeacherC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Needs BeJ. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Occasion of the JourneyW. Arnot, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Ordinances NecessaryDean Goulburn.John 4:1-42
The Parcel of Ground that Jacob Gave to His Son JosephA. Beith, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Pedagogy or Rudimentary Teaching of JesusC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Real Significance of the Woman's Coming to ChristJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Realness of the SceneDean Stanley.John 4:1-42
The Retreat of JesusJohn 4:1-42
The Revolution Christ Effected in the Treatment of WomenJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Rite of BaptismT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Self-Abnegation of ChristC. E. Luthardt, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Sixth HourBp. Ryle.John 4:1-42
The Thirsting SaviourA. Warrack, M. A.John 4:1-42
The Three BaptismsF. Godet, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Weary PilgrimJ. R. Macduff, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 4:1-42
The Woman of SamariaW. Jay.John 4:1-42
Topography of Jacob's Well and NeighbourhoodC. Geikie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Unquenchable EnthusiasmD. L. Moody.John 4:1-42
Utilizing Disagreeable NecessitiesA. F. Muir, M. A.John 4:1-42
Value of a Well in the EastH. W. Beecher.John 4:1-42
Weariness and WorkW. Poole Balfern.John 4:1-42
Why Christ Did not Personally BaptizeJohn 4:1-42
Why Religious Ordinances are Sometimes UnprofitableD. Guthrie, D. D.John 4:1-42
Christian WorshipR. Brodie, M. A.John 4:20-29
Christianity Non-CentralizedDr. Whichcote., J. Boyd.John 4:20-29
How to Worship GodDean Close.John 4:20-29
Human Curiosity and Divine MysteryW. M. H. Aitken, M. A.John 4:20-29
Mount GerizimF. I. Dunwell, B. A.John 4:20-29
Not Where, But How is the Main ThingClerical LibraryJohn 4:20-29
Spiritual WorshipF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 4:20-29
The Advent of Christ in Relation to the HeathenCanon Vernon Hutton.John 4:20-29
The Breadth of Spiritual ReligionPhillips Brooks, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Church of the FutureH. W. Beecher.John 4:20-29
The Old Worship and the NewR. W. Dale, LL. D.John 4:20-29
The True Worship of GodT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:20-29
The Vanity of Religious ControversyJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 4:20-29
This MountainArchbishop Trench.John 4:20-29
Traditional ReligionJ. Lightfoot, D. D.John 4:20-29
Veneration for Places of Ancient WorshipR. W. Dale, D. D.John 4:20-29
Our Lord Jesus was so truly Divine that he had only to be in the society of human beings who had any spiritual susceptibility and power of appreciation, in order to awaken their reverence and to call forth their confidence. Such proved to be the case in this memorable incident.

I. A CHANGE OF SPIRITUAL ATTITUDE IS HERE EXHIBITED. At first Jesus had asked water from the Samaritan woman, who seemed almost reluctant to grant so small a favour, and who laid stress upon nationality rather than upon humanity. But a short conversation wrought a marvellous change. And soon the woman came to beg for living water from him who had just before asked from her a draught from Jacob's well. How many have listened to the gospel, have turned their gaze towards Christ, with indifference, and even with a kind of ignorant condescension, who, upon knowing more of him, have exchanged indifference and contempt for reverence and faith! There are those who consider that a favour is asked from them by the ministers of religion when they are urged to accept the Lord Jesus; who seem to suppose that their adhesion would be a boon, if not to the Saviour, yet to his people. Let such persons really come into spiritual contact with Christ, and the case will be altogether changed. They will then see that they have nothing to give, and all to gain, and the Divine Benefactor of humanity will be approached with humble entreaty.

II. THE ATTRACTION EXERCISED BY THE DIVINE WATER OF LIFE IS HERE ILLUSTRATED.

1. We discern, on the part of the Samaritan woman, the desire for personal satisfaction. "That I thirst not" is a plea that personal cravings may be stilled and personal wants supplied. Let Christ's gift be understood, and the approach of it will excite the longing of the needy spirit.

2. We perceive also the desire to take to others, by a ministry of help, a Divine satisfaction. "Neither come hither to draw" is language which reminds us that the woman came to the well, not only to supply her own need, but to fetch water for her household. Could Jesus help her to minister to the wants of others in some way more satisfactory and less tedious than that to which she was accustomed? Experience shows that to realize, not only our own wants, but the wants of those connected with and dependent upon us, is increasingly to appreciate that spiritual provision which is symbolized by the living water.

III. APPLICATION TO THE TRUE SOURCE FOR THE WATER OF LIFE IS HERE EXEMPLIFIED. With all her faults, there were in this woman a clearness of thinking, a directness of language, and a candour of disposition which we cannot but admire. Once convinced that the mysterious Stranger before her had great gifts to confer, she promptly sought the promised good. The directness of her appeal, in which was no qualification, is an example to all who approach Christ. Those whom the gospel reaches, and who are convinced that the Lord Jesus is the Spring of life eternal to mankind, are reminded that they should apply without delay to the Personal and Divine Source of the highest blessing, with the assurance, which his character inspires, that they cannot ask of him in vain. - T.







Our fathers worshipped in this mountain.
This is the first mission to the heathen.

I. Our Lord's MISSIONARY METHOD. He tries to excite in the woman a longing for something higher than the life she was living. In order to do this He touches her conscience and lays His finger on her sin. She, seeing that she is in the presence of a prophet, embraces the opportunity of getting settled a long-standing controversy. In His reply, our Lord does not pretend that there is no difference when there is, but teaches that the difference is to pass away in the light of a higher truth which embraces both sides. The Jews knew what they worshipped, as the Samaritan and the heathen do not. Salvation was of the Jews, and not of the Samaritan or heathen.

II. Our Lord's MISSIONARY DOCTRINE. The offering of a man's whole self to God, and not the substitution of anything in its place. But man can only offer himself, i.e., worship in spirit, by being re-born of the Holy Spirit; can only worship in truth by being united to Him who is the Truth. Man can therefore worship the Father in spirit and in truth by the offering of his whole self in union with the Eternal Son and by being filled with the Eternal Spirit.

III. Our Lord's AUDIENCE REPRESENTS THE HEATHEN WORLD.

1. In her separation. She is outside She kingdom of God and the chosen race.

2. In her unconscious thirst for God — the living water.

3. In her sin.

4. In her blind worship of the unknown God.

IV. THE REVELATION OF WEAK POINTS IN MODERN MISSIONS.

1. There is too much vagueness in modern Christianity as to whom and what we worship — no clear grasp of the incarnation and regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord's "We know what we worship" much wanted.

2. There is too much feeling that Christianity is a thing of European civilization, and not universal.

3. It was the despised Samaritans, and not the favoured Jews, nor even the apostles, who were the first to find out that Christ was tim Saviour of the world.

V. Our Lord's VINDICATION OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS in the declaration that the Father seeketh worship. He knew that man cannot find satisfaction save in Him.

(Canon Vernon Hutton.)

1. According to the Grecian sage, all knowledge commences with wonder or curiosity. Without this knowledge would never have taken the strides it has. But it is not always those objects which most excite our curiosity that we are most capable of becoming acquainted with. This is true with the objects of nature, the sun, e.g., but much more with that sublimest of all objects, the unseen God. And because He shrouds Himself round with a veil of mystery, all the more our hearts desire to know something about Him. And yet "who can by searching find out God?" And then we have to reflect upon the errors into which men have fallen in their attempt to make the discovery, their attempt to satisfy their desire by a substitute of their own imagination, which ended in leaving the desire unsatisfied and the object still unknown.

2. But just as the art of optics was required to enable men of science to make progress in their knowledge of the sun, so it was necessary, before men could be acquainted with God, that He should be brought within the region of human observation. "Lord, show us the Father!" was the cry of humanity. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" was the response.

3. This woman was a subject of spiritual curiosity, and desired to know something of God. She identified herself with a religion which, however, instead of leading her to God, only supplied a substitute for Him. "Ye worship ye know not what." She knew what many a man of the nineteenth century knows to his cost, that this was true. As at Athens so at Gerizim there was an altar to the unknown God.

4. What was wanting at Gerizim? Two elements conspicuous in the creed of the Jew — a system of ritual in the temple worship, with all its symbolic teaching, and the utterances of the prophets. These two elements were closely connected with the promise as to the "seed of the woman," with the person and work of the Messiah, with God's attitude towards guilt in laying the iniquity of us all on the head of His guiltless Son. Thus the Jew was able to form such an ideal of the character of God as was impossible to the Samaritans. So the former "knew what He worshipped." Is not agnosticism the inevitable result of not receiving or of rejecting the revelation of God through Christ in the present day?

5. This agnosticism is not to be wondered at even with our clearer light. God is defined as an infinite Spirit — two splendid negations. When the woman heard Christ's declaration of the nature of God, she immediately fell back on another thought — the Messiah. Trace the progress of this spiritual growth — the awakening of a vague thirst; the definite conviction of sin; the desire to worship truly; the conviction of the coming of a perfect teacher; Christ's disclosure of His Messiahship; His glad communication; the conviction on her word and by personal experience, of the Samaritans that Christ was the Saviour of the world.

(W. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

I. This Church is to be looked for NOT IN THE PREVALENCE OF ANY SINGLE FORM OF WORSHIP OR IN ANY PHILOSOPHICAL CREED, though both of these will go along subordinately as working forces, BUT IN THE CONDITION OF THE HUMAN RACE. There will never be a time in which it will not be necessary to compass education by definite institutions. But these are only instruments. So in the course of religion this or that sect is only a kitchen where the loaf is prepared; and the loaf is mankind. And yet we have just the same exclusive and conceited views of our particular sect as the Jews had of theirs. But local churches are but streams flowing into the ocean until the "earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." The smallest rill is of use; the navigable river is invaluable; but none of them, not even the Amazon, is the ocean. And when the whole human family are gathered into one substantial brotherhood, living as sons of God, the Divine influence circling the whole, that will be the Church of the future.

II. In that great Church MEN WILL EMPLOY EDUCATING, INSTITUTIONS AND DOCTRINAL FORMS; but such things will fall out of their present idolatrous position, and become merely relative and subordinate. Of course it will have a creed. What is a man who has no beliefs? But the form of creeds will be changed while the substance will remain. Belief, existence, and authority of a personal God will never die out, but will come forth in clearer light. So with the moral government of God, the influence of the Holy Spirit, the sinfulness, yet salvability, and destiny of man, and the vicarious suffering of Jesus.

III. IN THIS CHURCH ORDINANCES WILL BE HINTS, HELPS, BUT NEVER AUTHORITIES. They are like child's, clothes which are necessary for the child, but are not the child; like school books, useful helps but not yokes. Men make idols and middle walls of ordinances: whereas their only use is to produce good fruit.

IV. In this Church NOT ONLY MAY WE EXPECT GREAT LIGHT ON SCRIPTURE, BUT A RECONCILIATION BETWEEN REVEALED AND SCIENTIFIC TRUTH SO THAT THEY WILL CO-OPERATE AS FACTS OF A COMMON REVELATION. The distinction between secular and religious, revealed and natural, will be much narrowed if not entirely done away. All truth will be sacred. Nature and religion will stand upon a common level, not by lowering religion, but by lifting up our conceptions of nature.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. Consider HOW THE DESCRIPTION OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP HERE GIVEN SHOULD AFFECT THE EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR WORSHIP.

1. Nothing can be more unphilosophical than to appeal to any Jewish precedent without inquiring whether the ancient institutions rested on permanent principles or were merely temporary.

2. When God commanded His people to construct a sanctuary that He might dwell among them it was to impress the truth that He was a God nigh at hand and not afar off, and by restricting ceremonial worship to that spot to emphasize the fact of the Divine unity.

3. Great then as were the gains of such a sanctuary yet the arrangement was not without its perils.(1) Good men away from the temple felt as though banished from God.(2) The tendency was to regard Jehovah as a God of the Jews, not of the Gentiles. Thus the spirituality and infinity of God was obscured by His special presence in the temple. As, therefore, it was expedient for Christ bodily to go away to manifest an universal spiritual presence; so it eventually became expedient that God should be no more thought of as dwelling in a temple made with hands.

4. It is contrary to the whole genius of Christianity to suppose that God is nearer to us in one spot than another, or that He confers special sanctity on material structures. The temple was a sign of God's willingness to listen to human worship, and was the visible embodiment of the Divine promise; a Church is the visible embodiment of human faith. The two ideas essentially differ.

5. The design of the temple structure was symbolical throughout. There was a local manifestation of God, and therefore a most holy place. God was approached by a ritual which only priests could perform. And if we believed in Christ's presence in the consecrated bread there ought to be an altar; and if ministers are priests a chancel devoted to their use. But Christ, on the contrary, is in regenerated souls. If any part of a church is sacred every part is so. Every part is altar, for Christians are the body of Christ; every part is chancel, for Christians are a royal priesthood; every part is holy of holies, because the glory Thou hast given Me I have given them."

6. But should not the structure of our buildings indicate their sacred purpose? Yes. I may be led to the choice of a certain order of architecture to indicate what it is; but in the interior I should be guided by the fact that Christians are to assemble there to be instructed and to worship. If it is convenient to have transepts, have them, but not to symbolize the Cross; and to diminish the convenience of the building by placing the chancel out of line with the nave to indicate the inclination of Christ's crucified body is to ignore the chief end for which it was erected. Have a tower and side aisles, if convenient, but not to remind us of the Trinity.

7. The same principles should determine the order of service. Everything should be made subordinate to the spirituality, intelligence, and reality of worship. The Jewish service was instructive and symbolic rather than aesthetic; and in discussing the questions of a liturgy versus free prayer, we have to ask, not what is most imposing, trot what is most useful to devotion. The same with Psalmody.

II. THE SPECIAL PROVISION FOR A TRUE AND SPIRITUAL WORSHIP IN THE DISPENSATION UNDER WHICH WE LIVE.

1. God is revealed to us in His moral and spiritual attributes as He never was before Christ. We preserve the whole wealth of previous revelations; but the moral perfections have been revealed in a new and higher way, in the life of Christ, which renders possible a higher form of spiritual worship.

2. The Holy Ghost has a more intimate union with those who serve God., and exerts a mightier power over their spiritual life. He was indeed operant in Old Testament times — but nowhere do we meet with such disclosures as in the Epistles. There is possible, therefore, to us an energy and depth of spiritual life to which they could not attain. It follows, then, that we may have a more spiritual worship because all our spiritual affections may be inspired with a fuller life and nobler vigour.

3. A nearer and truer approach to God is granted under the new dispensation than under the old. "The truth" liberated from all merely symbolical circumstances. At the Ascension these passed away and the realities were revealed. We stand in the real Holy of Holies, of which that of the Temple was a shadow. In conclusion, notice the greatness of the obligation which our Lord's words impose on the Church.That Church exists for a threefold purpose:

1. To make known to man the love of God in Christ.

2. To increase the knowledge of God's character and will among those who know Him, and to train them, body, soul, and spirit, to the keeping of His commandments.

3. To maintain from age to age a true and spiritual worship. To fulfil the last in this restless age is no easy task, but one of the most solemn obligation.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

I. NEGATIVELY CONSIDERED.

1. It is not sectarian. Sectarianism is not denominationalism, but spiritual monopoly. The former may be justifiable, but never the latter. Party distinctions as such are of no importance in the sight of God. God is no respecter of persons, and all persons have a right to worship Him according to their conscience.

2. It is not local. Here both Jews and Samaritans were in error. In the former case Deuteronomy 12:5, 7 was perverted, and the command to sacrifice at a given place interpreted to invest that place with a special sanctity apart from the character of the worshipper. The same feeling prevails amongst Hindoos and Mohammedans; how passing strange that it should ever have prevailed among Christians.

3. It is not external. Music, vestments, and ceremonies may, and often do, excite the emotions which will be produced by any other pageant, and which are totally disconnected with devotion.

II. POSITIVELY CONSIDERED.

1. It is spiritual. Lip homage is offensive to man much more to God. When local and external worship was in full operation something more was necessary to acceptance (1 Kings 8:27). In one respect this worship was independent of the moral character of the worshipper. But no typical character belongs to Christian worship, and without devout feelings it is worse than useless.

2. It is filial. Terror is the predominating spirit of idolatry. Its ceremonies are therefore deprecatory and often cruel. Awe was the predominating spirit of Jewish worship. Christianity merges the sterner attributes of the Divine character into those more attractive. God is a Father, and to worship Him truly is to offer the affection of sons.

3. It is universal. Non-restricted —(1) To buildings — upper rooms, prisons, barns, as well as cathedrals, etc.(2) Persons — "rich and poor meet together."Conclusion: In the exercises of God's house avoid —(1) a superstitious spirit either as regards the special sanctity of the place or the magical efficacy of ordinances.(2) A formal spirit. "Bodily exercise profitest little."(3) A bigoted spirit. A church is God's house, and all its privileges should be open to all His people, due care being taken to exclude only the ungodly.(4) A slavish spirit. "The joy of the Lord is your strength" for worship.

(R. Brodie, M. A.)

I. ERRORS WHICH HAVE INTERFERED WITH THE PURITY OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.

1. That which arises from a tendency to localize God. "Where?" asked the woman. "Nowhere in particular — everywhere," said Christ. We see this tendency among —

(1)The heathen, who confine a god to a district.

(2)The uneducated in their notion of a cemetery.

(3)The more refined, in the mystery which they attach to church, altar, sacrament.What is sanctity of place? It belongs to the law of association. Worship, e.g., in a festive room would suggest notions uncongenial with devotion. Hence the use of consecration, sitting apart. This view said to be dangerous and unsettling. But —(a) Consider the shock this woman received; all her little religion had clung to Gerizim and was shattered at a blow.(b) We are only concerned with the truth, and God's truth cannot be dangerous. The fact is, the Church is holy if a holy congregation be in it; if not, it is bricks and mortar. The holiest place is not where architecture and music yield their spell, but perhaps a wretched pallet on which one of Christ's humblest ones is dying.

2. That which arises from the idea that forms are immutable — "Our fathers worshipped," etc. A form is the shape in which an age expresses a feeling. The sprat of religion remains but the expression alters.

3. That which arises from ignorance, "Ye worship ye know not what." The feeling of devoutness is inherent. But the question is, what we worship. To many there are three deities —(1) The heathen bent before power — God in the whirlwind, etc. This is ignorance.(2) The philosopher is above this. He bows before wisdom. Science tells him of electricity, etc. He looks down on warm devoutness, and admires mind in nature. He calls it rational religion. Ignorance also.(3) The spiritual man bows before goodness. "The true worshippers worship the Father." We know what we worship.

4. That which mistakes the nature of reverence. The woman had reverence; veneration for antiquity — the mountain, the prophet. But what was her life? Reverence, etc., are a class of feelings which belong to the imagination and are neither good nor bad. Some men are constitutionally so framed that they do not thrill at painted windows, but adore God, and love Christ, and admire goodness and hate evil. They have bowed their souls before justice, mercy, truth, and therefore stand erect before everything else that the world calls sublime.

II. TRUE CHARACTER OF SPIRITUAL WORSHIP.

1. A right appreciation of God's character —(1) as a Spirit. The mind and pervading life of the universe. In this, however, only a God for the intellect, not for the heart.(2) As a father — a word uniting —

(1)Tenderness with reverence.

(2)Discipline with kindness.

2. Spiritual character. "In Spirit and in truth. Holy character a kind of worship." Before a material God a material knee would have to bow; before a spiritual God nothing but prostration of spirit acceptable. Application;

1. Christ came to sweep away everything that prevented immediate contact with God.

2. Scripture insists on truth of character.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. IS NOT RESTRICTED TO LOCALITIES.

1. Before the Advent it was The Pentateuch, to which Jews and Samaritans appealed, decided this without naming the locality (Exodus 30:24; Deuteronomy 12:5, 11; Deuteronomy 16:6; Deuteronomy 26:2; Deuteronomy 31:11). In selecting Jerusalem the Jews believed themselves to be under Divine guidance (Psalm 132:13; 2 Chronicles 7:17; Isaiah 56:7; Zechariah 14:17). The Samaritans finding no mention of Jerusalem, but observing the prominence given to Gerizim (Deuteronomy 11:29; Deuteronomy 27:12; Joshua 8:33), built a Temple there. Christ, however, waived the controversy, and announced a new era emancipating the spirit of worship from place and form.

2. Since Pentecost it cannot be so restricted.(1) Men, like the Jews, still cling to localities, notwithstanding the clear lesson of destruction of the Temple.(2) Isaiah had a glimpse of this truth (Isaiah 56:1).(3) Christ formally established it (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20). It became possible (Acts 2:17).

II. LIES IN THE LINE OF GOD'S GRACIOUS REVELATIONS (ver 22).

1. It had been so with the Jews. Accepting the prophets, they had a more accurate idea of God. God's gracious purposes had developed along the line of Jewish history.

2. It must continue to be so with the Christian. Having manifested himself in Christ, any worship that ignores this must be unacceptable (Colossians 2:23). It must also accept the subsequent revelations of the Spirit.

III. ACCORDS WITH THE BEING AND ESSENCE OF GOD HIMSELF (vers. 23, 24).

1. Spiritual, since God is Spirit. Not a Spirit, one among many, nor impersonal because the article is wanting, but absolute Being; hence worship must ascend from the innermost personality.

2. True, since God is this Truth.

3. Filial, since God is the Father (Matthew 5:45; Matthew 6:9; Romans 7:15; Galatians 4:6).Lessons:

1. Controversies mostly settle themselves when left to time.

2. Questions about the externals of worship do not belong to its essence.

3. Christian freedom is not the same thing as will worship.

4. The characteristics of Christian worship fit it to be universal.

5. In these lie the prophecy of its triumph.

6. The Founder of such worship requires no surer witness to His supreme Divinity.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain
Clerical Library.
Dr. Guthrie tells of a poor woman who dwelt in one of the darkest and most wretched quarters of Edinburgh. Away from her native home, and without one earthly friend, she had floated there, a stranger in a strange land, to sink into the most abject poverty; her condition but one degree better than our Saviour's — in common with the fox, she had a hole to lay her head in. Yet, although poor and outwardly wretched, she was a child of God, one of the jewels which, if sought for, we should sometimes find in dust-heaps. With a bashfulness not unnatural, she had shrunk from exposing her poverty to the stare of well-robed congregations, resorting on Sabbath-days to the well — appropiate place — where a pious man was wont to preach to ragged outcasts, crying in the name of Jesus, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." In ignorance of this, and supposing that she was living, like the mass around her, in careless neglect of her soul, Dr. Guthrie begun to warn her; but she interrupted him, and, drawing herself up with an air of humble dignity, and half offended, said, "Sir, I worship at the well, and am sure that if we are true believers in Jesus, and love him, and try to follow Him, we shall never be asked at the Judgment-day, 'Where did you worship?'"

(Clerical Library.)

1. Is He a Saviour? Then we should come to Him as sinners; for sinners only need a Saviour. All others will be rejected. There can be no acceptable worship until we are convinced of sin, and humbled on account of it.

2. Is God a Father? Then we should worship Him as children.

3. Is He a Spirit? Then, "We must worship Him in spirit and in truth." Whether as a Saviour, a Father, or the Great God, He will accept only the worship of the mind, the heart, the understanding. An idol god might be satisfied with the bended knee and uplifted hand, but our God looks on the heart.

(Dean Close.)

The Samaritans now believe what in all likelihood they believed in our Saviour's time, about mount Gerizim. It is for them the holy mountain of the world; on its summit was the seat of Paradise; from its dust Adam was formed; and the spot is still pointed out where he reared his first altar; the place, too, where Seth did the same. Gerizim is the Ararat of Scripture, on which the ark rested (Genesis 8:4); which the waters of the flood never overflowed; and which thus no dead thing borne by those waters had defiled. They point out, further, the exact spot on which Noah reared an altar when the flood had subsided (Genesis 8:20); and its seven steps on each of which he offered a burnt-offering. The altar, too, is to this day standing on which Abraham had bound his son, and the spot known where the ram was caught. At the summit is Bethel (Genesis 28:12, 19). There is a good deal more in the same fashion. That poor woman, who may have accepted all this with implicit faith, would have had warrant for more than her boast if only a small part of it had been true.

(Archbishop Trench.)

The Patriarch Jacob had offered sacrifice at Sychar, or Shechem (Genesis 33:20). From Mount Gerizim the six tribes had solemnly pronounced the blessings that should be on those who kept the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 27:12). At Shechem, Joshua before his death, had recounted to the assembled Israelites God's merciful dealings with them (Joshua 24). A temple, if not then standing, had formerly stood on Mount Gerizim. All this might seem to convey a kind of right and legality to the worship offered there. But God had chosen one place for His worship, one place only for sacrifices to be offered to Him (Deuteronomy 12:13). This place was Jerusalem. Neither length of time, nor the eminence of the worshippers, could invest any other place with the right, which God had given to Jerusalem alone.

(F. I. Dunwell, B. A.)

The reverence of this woman for the place where her father worshipped is common to men of every country and every creed. When surrounded by revered walls consecrated by the confessions and thanksgivings of many generations, a solemn awe steals over the heart, which the most gorgeous cathedral, fresh from the hands of the architect, fails to inspire. Nor is this impression produced merely by the-pathetic beauty which clings to noble and stately structures in their decay. We are affected, not because the broken columns and the crumbling tracery, grey with long exposure and covered with the kindly growth of ivy, have a loveliness to the eye far surpassing that which the ancient builders looked upon; the rudest, meanest building, the open moor, the mountain side, if our fathers worshipped there, stir the deepest and most sacred emotions of human nature. To this day the miserable remnant of the Samaritans cling with indestructible affection to their ancient mountain; and among the Jewish people the passion has not been exhausted by the centuries of suffering, shame, and despair. Week by week men and women and little children sit down in the dust outside the walls of the Mosque, which stands where the Temple once stood, and utter loud and grievous wailings over the fall of their beautiful sanctuary, and pray for its restoration.

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

Custom, as it is commonly said, is a second nature; and men cannot easily leave that which they have long used themselves to; and they will not easily leave that which they have seen and known to be used by their predecessors. The Ephraimites, in the Book of Judges, that had been brought up to say Sibboleth all their life, cannot say Shibboleth to save their life; but they perish, two-and-forty thousand This, the more is the pity, is the religion of too many thousands in this land and time; men and women are too commonly and generally pinned in religion, and in practice of religious things, upon the customs and usages of ancient days, and they are loth to be parted from them. The woman of Sychar was zealous for the temple upon mount Gerizim; but the best reason she can give for that is that her fathers worshipped there.

(J. Lightfoot, D. D.)

The more spiritual is a man's religion the more expansive and broad it always is. A stream may leave its deposits in the pool it flows through, but the stream itself hurries on to other pools in the thick woods. And so God's gifts a soul may selfishly appropriate. But God Himself the more truly a soul possess Him, the more truly it will long and try to share Him.

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

What was it to her, living in sin, whether Jerusalem or Samaria was the more acceptable place for worship? She could not worship acceptably in either of them. How easily every one sees, in her case, that she had no business with these curious questions; that the one thing for her to do was, as Christ had told her her sin, to desire Him to tell her how she might escape the punishment due to it. And yet her fault is far from being uncommon. There are many who are living in the known breach of God's plainest commandments, who yet will pay some attention to religion; but then it must not be a personal thing; it must not be admitted into their conscience, and allowed to interfere with their vices. These it is not convenient for them to part with. They will lie and defraud, or drink to excess, or live in the lust of uncleanness, or in a covetous and worldly spirit; these things they do, and will do. They ask not therefore any religious questions which come close to their conscience; but they inquire what form of worship is most scriptural, what mode of preaching to be preferred; whether churchmen or dissenters come nearest to the primitive standard of church government; or what denomination is best. What is it to you which denomination of Christians is the best? Let which will be best, you are wrong, and in the road to hell, even though you should belong to the purest society in the world. There is one question only which concerns you at present; and this it behoves every one of you to put with all earnestness, and without delay — "What shall I do to be saved?"

(J. Fawcett, M. A.)

Religion is not a hear-say, a presumtion, a supposition; it is not a customary pretension and profession; it is not an affection of any mode; it is not a piety of any particular fancy, consisting in some pathetic devotions, vehement expressions, bodily severities, affected anomalies, and aversions from the innocent usage of others; but it consisteth in a profound humility and an universal charity (Matthew 5:1-11).

Christianity non-centralized: — In the days of the apostles, the Church Catholic had no local centre. Jerusalem was destroyed for this, I believe, among other special reasons, that it might not become such. Christianity was designed for every land alike; it was gifted with power to make every city a Jerusalem, a habitation of peace, a city of God; and every man, of every tribe, a citizen of the Zion above (Deuteronomy 34:6).

(J. Boyd.)

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