Accurate modeling and numerical simulation of reaction kinetics is a topic of steady interest. We consider the spatiotemporal chemical master equation (ST- CME) as a model for stochastic reaction-diffusion systems that exhibit properties of metastability. The space of motion is decomposed into metastable compartments, and diffusive motion is approximated by jumps between these compartments. Treating these jumps as first-order reactions, simulation of the resulting stochastic system is possible by the Gillespie method. We present the theory of Markov state models as a theoretical foundation of this intuitive approach. By means of Markov state modeling, both the number and shape of compartments and the transition rates between them can be determined. We consider the ST-CME for two reaction-diffusion systems and compare it to more detailed models. Moreover, a rigorous formal justification of the ST-CME by Galerkin projection methods is presented.