One of the most compelling encounters in Jesus’s ministry, recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 4, is his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. In it, you find a powerful exchange of God working to reveal himself in Jesus, to someone who had no context and had no real ability to really understand. But Jesus was patient and gracious and demonstrated something about what it means to serve those around us.
One of the things that I find most interesting about this exchange is the way that Jesus describes the reality of worship. In Lent, we spend a lot of time reflecting (and probably fasting) and considering what it means to trust in God in Christ. And what is interesting about these relationships and all of these related topics, is that something else is happening beneath the surface. God is not looking for us to merely conform our behavior to who he is and what he desires for us. God is looking for something else.
In John 4:23-24 Jesus said something that reminds us of realities we often take for granted, or maybe even do not consider at all.
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (ESV)
The reality is that there is something else going on in our lives beyond the every day. God is spirit, and therefore the way we worship him must reflect who he is, as well as what he is.
God is not interested in our playing at worship. He is not interested in external demonstrations of worship. God is looking for the transformation that comes from the acknowledgment of the truth and how that impacts who we are in our everyday life. Our worship must be grounded in the truth of who God is. And our worship is expressed as we are changed and transformed by this reality.