Not sure if I can wrap my head around this but God often calls us to see him outside the obvious. And yet to understand him enough to be his ambassadors. An example is worship.
When I hear this I think words, songs, a leader, praise, adoration. A practical event, a thing I do.
I relate to the Samaritan woman who was very practical when she met Jesus in John 4. Water to quench her thirst, and worshiping as an act done in a location.
But Jesus says the water I give will be: “living water” (vs 10) an internal never ending: “spring of water welling up to eternal life” (vs 14). What? I can see myself saying: “it’s noon, it’s hot, and I just need a drink… I have no idea what you are talking about!”
Then Jesus confronts her humanity and she sees he is a prophet and wants to know the proper place to go to worship. She cares! Jesus then explains that it’s not about location (vs 21) and true worship is done: “in spirit and in truth” (vs 23).
I know this yet I forget it. Eugene Peterson in The Message puts it this way:
“’It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth … those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
Looking this up in the original language it is a disposition to give homage and adoration and respect in a way that possesses all knowing, and desiring acting in certainty devoid of superstitions, inventions, and corrupt opinions and precepts. It has a sense of being, not doing.
This is who we are not what we do. Jesus is saying if you know me this “water”, you would “worship” with a depth of understanding beyond the physical quenching of thirst and a locational religious act.
I’m not sure this woman or I really grasp all this. But her reaction was to bring others to Jesus, to find out for themselves. A practical response we can understand and emulate.