“19 The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.’
“21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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” (John 4:19-24).
True worshipers will be known not by the location of their worship but the internal focus or nature in how they worship. Our worship is to be marked by two characteristics:
First, we are to worship in spirit. This is a reference to the inward attitude of the true worshiper. Worship is not meant to be based upon external conforming to customs or traditions. One who worships in Spirit might clap, raised his hands, show emotion, sing loud and boisterously, etc. This is the opposite of someone who is heartless in their worship. It is someone who has a physical expression of worship.
Second, we are to worship in truth. This means that our worship is what is true about God or what can be known about Him in the Scriptures. This is why the study of theology is so important for us. For within the study of theology, we arrive at a place of deeper worship. True worship is educated from God’s Word. “Truth worship” is the opposite of hypocritical worship that says and sings certain things about God but doesn’t actually believe them.
By the way, you cannot have one without the other. They form one central idea of how God is to be worshipped. If you worship Him only “in truth,” your worship becomes liturgical only and ritualistic. If you worship him only “in spirit” you open yourself up to empty frenzy or spiritual flakiness. Worship Him in spirit and in truth.