In John 4:19-20, the Samaritan women said to Jesus, (after he told her information about her life) “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
In response Jesus says to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Samaria was a part of Israel that many Jews avoided. They would go around, taking a longer journey when going to Jerusalem from Galilee, rather than go through Samaria
The Samaritans were Israelites from northern Israel who historically were part of the Assyrian captivity. (2 Kings 17:24-29) They had intermarried with settlers from other nations who occupied northern Israel.
The Samaritans were not thought of as Israelites by the Judeans, but rather as “people of the Mesopotamian city of Kutha/כותה’, which refers in itself to a certain reception of the passage 2 Kings 17.24, Josephus’ Antiquities.
While holding to many Jewish beliefs and customs which included looking for the Messiah, the Samaritans believed that because they had come to live on Mount Gerizim they were called (because of Moses), to protect it as a sacred mountain.
The Samaritans also held different theological and political beliefs than the Judaeans in the south of Israel. While the Samaritans worshipped YHWH they had competing temples. Mt. Gerizim was the Samaritan sanctuary while the Judeans worshipped in the temple built by King Solomon in Jerusalem.
They also had different religious texts. The Samaritans had 5 books of the Torah in their Samaritan Pentateuch with a Samaritan twist, including the Mount Gerizim doctrine. The Samaritans rejected much of the Hebrew Masoretic text consisting of 24 books.
The Samaritan women at the well was told by Jesus that the Samaritans did not know what they worshiped but the Judeans knew what they worshipped. This was due to the fact that the Samaritans had little knowledge of God because they rejected much of the Hebrew text.
Also many Samaritans mixed Hellenistic ideology into their culture. (The idea of reasoning, science, moral ethics based on human standards.)
After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the Samaritans, like all other people groups in the region, came under the influence of Greek culture. The Samaritans in time developed their own form of Hellenism.
Fragments of Samaritan literature in Greek, as well as a number of Greco-Samaritan inscriptions ( In Palestine and the diaspora) testify to this. The Ancient Samaritans and Greek Culture Pieter W. van der Horst Faculty of Theology, Utrecht University (Emeritus), 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands
The Hebrew text confirms the temple of Jerusalem as the place where YHWY was to be worshipped. That is why Jesus said, “we know what we worship.”
“The Lord said to him: ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” 1 Kings 9:2-4
The Samaritans rejected the Judean authority of scriptures and their oral law.
Jesus made it clear to the Samaritan woman that the hour would come when neither on Mount Gerizim nor in Jerusalem would the Father be worshiped. For two reasons. Both temples would eventually be destroyed but also after Jesus’ death and resurrection those who were true worshippers of YHWY would now worship Him in spirit and in truth.
No longer would those two temples be necessary anymore because after Jesus’ death and resurrection the temple veil in Jerusalem was ripped in two, giving direct access to God for his worshippers. Jesus would now be the high priest and intercessor of his people.
Jesus told the Samaritan women that God is a Spirit and requires his worshipers to worship him from a spiritual perspective. Not from a religious perspective based on a physical temple.
YHWY no longer lives in a temple made by hands. Those who are born of God by his Holy Spirit are God’s temple. He resides in the born again spirit of his elect, chosen from the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4
Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
Jesus continues in John 3, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So, it is with everyone born of the Spirit”
To be born again is to be born of God, born of his Holy Spirit. (Regenerated into a new spiritual person.) Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38
How can one become born again in order to become a child of God and enter his kingdom?
Consider the following scriptures.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.” John 5:1