Jesus encountered a woman at Jacob’s well. Her soul was thirsty and she had tried to quench that thirst with other things. Just as our bodies need water to sustain it, we all have a thirst that can only be satisfied by the Spirit of God!
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” – Psalm 42.2 (NIV)
Lesson Intro (Things About You)
Supplies: 3 x 5 note cards, pens or pencils.
Give each child/kid’s worker a card. Have them put their names at the top. Write 5 questions on the board and have children number 1 – 5 down their cards and write answers to the questions without letting anyone see their answers. (Some children will need help with writing so please have adults help. It’s ok for them to see other’s answers, as they are not guessing.)
Sample questions: Favorite game to play, Favorite color, Favorite food, Favorite sport, Favorite TV show or movie, Favorite toy, Favorite book, something they like about Jesus/God, favorite bible story from this year, etc! Choose only 5.
When the children and volunteers are finished, have them give the teacher their cards. Mix them up, choose one, and tell the kids they need to guess who it is. For example: “question one… This person’s favorite game to play is Candy Land.” See if anyone can guess. Then read question 2. “This person’s favorite color is blue.” If someone guesses who it is, keep reading all the answers and then give the guesser a high-five. If no one guesses correctly, give the person whose card it is a high-five. You can do some before the story and some after, perhaps during snack.
Alternate intro (better for 4-5s): Jumping Game.
Begin by asking them how high they can jump. Challenge the class to show you how high they can jump. Now, ask them how long they can jump. Challenge them to carefully jump as long as they can. Have cups or bottles of water ready for the class when they finish jumping. Make a big deal of drinking water once they have finished their jumping. Once everyone has some water, have them sit and get ready to listen to the lesson.
Props: Pitcher of water, a few paper cups, Slush Powder.
Transitioning from the game to the story…
For the 6-8s you could say something like:
We can’t know everything about each other, but Jesus does. He knows the good and the bad, but loves us and he knows what we need more than anyone!
For the 4-5s you could say:
After playing the jumping game, everyone was tired and wanted a drink of water. Why did you want water? They will probably say that they are thirsty and tired. Say, When we are tired water refreshes us. We need water. We cannot live without it. Whenever we are thirsty there is nothing better than a drink of water. The more water we drink the better we feel. God is like water in our lives. He keeps our soul healthy. He refreshes us when we are sad or mad.
One day Jesus was walking through the town of Sychar when he came to a well. He was thirsty, so he asked the woman who was there to give him a drink. This gave him an opportunity to explain how He was like water. Let’s read this story from John 4.
At this point read John 4:4-14 or retell the story in your own words.
For the 4-5s it isn’t necessary to go into the detail of the nature of the woman’s sin. We want the kids to understand that Jesus knows each of them intimately and that nothing can satisfy their souls except for him!
This is where you’re going to need your props to make the closing point! One of your cups needs to have a stick-man on it to represent your body. In the bottom of that cup you’ll have a little bit of Slush Powder, which is a super-absorbent powder that turns water into a thick gel. Put another empty cup inside of that cup to keep the powder in place. Say:
When Jesus was talking about water he wasn’t talking about water like the water in this pitcher. Jesus said: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again”. So, if this cup is my body and I drink some water (pour 2-3oz. of water into the ‘body’ cup), does that mean that I’ll never be thirsty again? No! This water doesn’t last forever (at this point turn the cup upside-down. The gel will stay inside the cup, creating the impression that it’s empty). Jesus was talking about the water of his Holy Spirit. When we have a relationship with God he refreshes us just like water, but his Holy Spirit makes us new inside gives us new life that will be alive with him forever. We cannot live without Jesus, just like we cannot live without water.
Ask, How can we keep ourselves close to Jesus? Possible answers could be that they can read their Bibles, pray, go to church, and talk about Jesus with their parents.
NOTE: Discard the cup with the gel out of children’s reach. It can be messy and potentially dangerous if swallowed by a child.
Prayer: Thank Jesus that he is like living water and that nothing can satisfy us more than knowing him.
- Where was Jesus in this story?
- Who does he meet there?
- What does Jesus tell the woman?
- Why is Jesus the only one who can satisfy our thirsty souls?
Woman at the Well Game
Supplies: Styrofoam peanuts to be water, 4 buckets, paper cups.
How to play: Split the children into two teams. Put two buckets spread apart on one side of the room and two across from them on the other side of the room. Line the teams across the room in between their buckets. Fill the buckets on one side with peanuts (water). Give the kids who are first in line a paper cup. When you say go, the kids with the cups will fill them with peanuts from the bucket and hand the cup down their team line. (Each child in line must receive and pass the cup… no skipping!) When it reaches the last child they pour it into the empty bucket and send the cup back down the line. The first team to get all their peanuts to the other bucket wins!
Have the kids pass the cup through their legs.
Have the first person in line run to the end after they hand off the cup so the kids rotate and there is a new person first in line.
Add a second cup so there are two going at once.
Image credit: Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well, 1796 – Angelica Kauffman