MIXTURE IN WORSHIP
In chapter four of John we have a mountain and a well at the foot of the mountain. The well is for human living, and the mountain is for the worship of God. The Lord Jesus first pointed out to the Samaritan woman that Jacob’s well cannot satisfy man’s thirst in his human life. Second, the Lord Jesus indicated that the mountain on which the Samaritans worship cannot provide the kind of worship that is satisfying to God. Today we also have the matters of the thirst in human living and the worship of God. We need to be satisfied in life, and we must have the kind of worship that can satisfy God.
Among today’s Christians, many have not found satisfaction for their thirst, and their worship does not satisfy God. The reason their worship does not satisfy God is that it is a mixture. We have seen that on Mount Gerizim a form of worship was established under pagan authorities that mixed the things of paganism with various genuine matters of the Jewish religion. In principle, the same thing has happened in the so-called historic church. Under the authority of pagan rulers the things of paganism have been mixed with the things of Christian faith and worship. For example, the Council of Nicea was conducted under the authority of a pagan ruler, Constantine the Great. Both Christmas and Easter involve the mixture of pagan things with the genuine worship of God.
This kind of mixture is illustrated by the leaven in Matthew 13:33: “Another parable He spoke to them: The kingdom of the heavens is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.” This woman signifies the Catholic Church, which took many pagan practices and evil matters and mixed them with the teachings concerning Christ to leaven the whole content of Christianity. Hence, Catholicism is altogether a mixture. This mixture has not been thoroughly purged out of the Protestant denominations. For example, Christmas was invented by Catholicism; however, it was inherited by Protestantism. The same is true of Easter. This is an illustration of the fact that the worship in which many Christians are involved is filled with mixture.
WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN REALITY
The crucial point for us to see is that the Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman that genuine worship, the worship that God the Father is seeking, is not on a certain mountain, but in the human spirit: “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father.…God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and reality” (John 4:21, 24). In the Old Testament Mount Zion, the place of God’s habitation and the place of His name, was a type of the human spirit. According to the New Testament, God’s habitation is not on any mountain, nor is it even in the heavens. Rather, God’s habitation is in man’s spirit (Eph. 2:22). Actually, man’s spirit is God’s habitation and also the place of God’s name. If we go elsewhere to worship God, this indicates that we have given up God’s name. There is only one place where we can be preserved in God’s name, and that place is our spirit. When we come to our spirit, we keep God’s name and are preserved in His name. What name should we take for ourselves in our worship of the Father in spirit? We should not take any name. The genuine worship of the Father, the worship He desires, is the worship of Him in our spirit, as typified by the worship on Mount Zion.
The genuine worship of God the Father is in the spirit, and it is also in reality. The children of Israel were required to worship God on Mount Zion and with the offerings. We have seen that Mount Zion typifies our spirit. The offerings typify Christ as reality. Christ is the fulfillment and reality of all the offerings with which God’s people worship God. He is the genuine sin offering, trespass offering, burnt offering, meal offering, and peace offering. This is the reason we speak of the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings in the writings of John. In the Gospel of John we can see the real tabernacle and also the real offerings. The tabernacle is the enlargement of Christ, and the offerings are Christ Himself as reality. Today we worship God in our spirit with Christ as the reality of all the offerings. When the Lord Jesus instructed the Samaritan woman to worship God the Spirit in spirit and reality, He meant that she should contact God the Spirit in her spirit instead of in a specific place, and through Christ, instead of with the offerings. Now that Christ the reality has come, all the types and shadows are over.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)