Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)
By mentioning the two different worship sites (John 4:20), the woman at the well was perhaps trying to shift the conversation away from the subject of her own sins to theological questions. Or perhaps she realized that she was a sinner (John 4:18), and knew that she was required to offer a sacrifice.
The woman probably assumed that because Jesus was a Jew, He would insist that the sacrifice be offered in the temple at Jerusalem. The Jews insisted that the exclusive place of worship was Jerusalem. But the Samaritans had set up a rival worship site on Mount Gerizim, which according to their tradition was where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, and where later on he met Melchizedek. When the blessings and curses were read to the wilderness generation of Israel, the blessings were read from Mount Gerizim (Deut. 11:29; 27:12). Deuteronomy 27:4 instructed that an altar be erected on Mount Ebal, opposite Mount Gerizim. But the Samaritan scripture changed the verse to read “Mount Gerizim.” The Samaritans altered history and tampered with the text of Scripture to glorify Mount Gerizim.
When Jesus said, "salvation is of the Jews," He meant that only through the Jewish Messiah would the whole world find salvation. God had promised that through the Jewish race the whole earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3). The Old Testament prophets had called the Jews to be a light to the other nations of the world, bringing them to knowledge of God; and they had predicted the Messiah's coming. The woman at the well may have known of these passages and was expecting the Messiah, but she didn't realize that she was talking to Him!
When Jesus said, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." what did He mean? God is not limited by time and space. When people are born of the Spirit, they can commune with God anywhere. Spirit is the opposite of what is material and earthly, for example, Mount Gerizim. Christ makes worship a matter of the heart. Truth is what is in harmony with the nature and will of God. It is the opposite of all that is false. Here the truth is specifically the worship of God through Jesus Christ.
God is not a physical being limited to one place. He is present everywhere and He can be worshiped anywhere, at any time. It is not where we worship that counts, but how we worship. Is your worship genuine and true? Do you have the Holy Spirit's help? How does the Holy Spirit help us worship? The Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26), teaches us the words of Christ (John 14:26), and tells us we are loved (Romans 5:5).
Father God, it is my prayer today that I humble myself before you and ask forgiveness for not worshiping You in the way that You desire. Lord search my heart and soul to convict me of any sin that I may have in my life that would be a stumbling block as I go out and witness in your name. I pray this all in Jesus' name. Amen.
References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible. Worship God in Spirit and Truth