Thus far in these nature parables, we’ve pointed out the qualities needed to seek God, but a quick reading of the gospel will reveal that God is also actively seeking the lost. "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" - Luke 19:10. In particular, Jesus points out two qualities that God seeks after, two qualities that are essential to Christian worship.
I realized the value of these qualities one morning when I hiked up Tumalo Mountain in Bend, OR. I got up at about five AM to capture the sunrise and I drove over to the butte. The only problem was I didn’t know the trail, and when I got there I started on the wrong trailhead. I thought I was on the right path, but I ended going about a mile and a half in the wrong direction. I needed a reliable map. Once I realized where I was, I went straight up the side of the hill, off trail, to try and get back on track. That correction was about 700 ft of exhausting elevation gain in order to reach the sunrise in time.
As I neared the top, I was desperate for water and glad that I had brought some. I imagined how lost I’d be without the map and without the water. In John 4, Jesus tells us that he offers a living water to us, not the water we drink to just get thirsty again, but a water welling up to eternal life. It's a gift that God wants to give to His worshippers; those who worship Him in spirit and truth! He says this matters more to God than worshipping on a mountaintop or in a temple. If we don’t have this, Jesus says we’re just worshipping what we do not know.
"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water,... Jesus said “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” ... “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, Jesus said “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” - John 4
It’s a thirst for spirit and truth that brings us closer to God, and that God is actively searching for. What is spirit and truth? It’s sincerely yielding your heart to his Holy Spirit. It’s worshipping in Christ Jesus, and following the truth of His Word. This matters more than any mountaintop or ceremony. It’s a spiritual thirst for a relationship with him. Are you reading His gospel, and letting him speak his truth to you? Are you praying with God and speaking right back to him?
When you head out on your spiritual journey, you’ll get lost or exhausted without your map and water. Don’t get misdirected or burnt out in your seeking God, but seek him in Spirit and truth. These are the kinds of worshippers the father seeks!