A person without Christ is like a man walking through the desert. Completely dry and in need of water. Christ is the living water of our lives. He sustains us and fills us up. Just as the body cannot live without water the soul cannot live without Jesus. This lesson uses the contrast of a dry and wet sponge to teach children how different their lives are based on whether or not they have Jesus in their lives.
Lesson Title: Soak up God’s Love
Bible Reference: Psalm 63:1-5
Target Age Group: Preschool to Elementary
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 45 minutes
Focus Verse: “My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1b
- Jesus fills our lives up with joy and hope.
Basic Supply List:
- Several Sponges of Various Sizes
- Four Bowls
- Sandwich Baggies
- Decorative Duct Tape
- Foam Letters and Shapes
- Sharpie Marker
- Rice Krispie Treats
Note: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.
> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <
Introduction: Begin the lesson by greeting each child and having them sit in a circle. Use a dry sponge as a ball and begin a game of catch. As each child catches the sponge they must say something that they are thankful for.
Biblical Evidence: Hold up the sponge and ask the class how the dry sponge felt when they were playing catch with it. Emphasize that it feels hard and scratchy. Now dip the sponge in some water, ring it out, and let the children touch it again. Once again ask how it feels. Say, Now that the sponge is full of water is soft and squishy. When it was dry it was worthless. It had no value to use because we couldn’t use it for anything. Now that it is wet it has a purpose. It can clean up messes and scrub up dirt. By itself the sponge was just a sponge, but when we added the water to it, it became something useful.
Now ask the children if people and sponges are alike. They will probably respond that they are different. Then say, People are like sponges and Jesus is like the water. When we don’t have Jesus in our lives we are empty. Jesus fills us up with eternal life. When we have Jesus in our lives we have joy because we have salvation. Without Jesus we are like dry sponges, which are no good for work. With Jesus we are full and ready to work for Him.
Now open your Bible and say, Let’s see what the Bible says about Jesus being the living water. Read Psalm 63:1-5. Explain the passage in your own words. In verse one David tells us that he longs for God in a dry and weary land. Tell the kids to imagine that they are outside where it is very hot and they are very thirsty. It is like God is the only thing that can satisfy our thirst so we must go to him.
In verses two and three David reminds us of all the wonderful things that God is. When we drink of His water, we will partake in these things in Heaven.
In verse four David reminds us that we should be thankful for what God has offered to us. Tell the children that we should be thankful for God’s ability to fill us up like a sponge.
In verse five we learn that God will satisfy our soul and fulfill all of our longings. Say, Without God in our lives we are empty and useless, just like a dry sponge. Jesus fills us up like the wet sponge and satisfies our need for a Savior. People are like sponges because we can be filled up with Jesus.
Sponge Race Game: Divide the class into two teams. This will be a relay race. Place two empty bowls at the end of the playing area and two bowls full of water at the start line. The first person in each line will need a large sponge. When the teacher says Go the first person in line will fill their sponge with water and then run to the empty bowl and put the water in the empty bowl. The first team to fill their bowl with water wins.
Sponge Splat Game: Use chalk to drawa bullseye on the ground. The center circle is worth 100 points, the second circle is worth 75, the third is worth 50 and the fourth is worth 25. Use the chalk to draw a starting line. Fill a smaller sponge with water and then let the children take turns throwing it to the bullseye. Whoever gets the highest score wins. Every time someone hits the center circle the class must chant, “Jesus fills us with Joy!”
Water Squisher Craft: Give each child a sandwich size baggie with a good seal. Fill the bag about half way full with blue hair gel. (I have found blue hair gel like this in the past at the grocery store in a big round tub.) Have the class put several other small items into the bag to squish around such as sequins and foam letters or shapes. Don’t put anything with a pointy edge in there or you will have a mess. Get as much of the air as possible out of the bag and seal it up. Cover the opening with decorative duct tape as an added precaution and write the Bible verse, Psalm 63:1b on the duct tape. Explain to the kids the importance of not squeezing the bag too hard and let them play with it for a while.
Fill up on Sponges: For snack, eat Rice Krispy Treats and pretend that they are sponges. You could have these ready ahead of time or make them together as a class. The recipe is below:
3 tablespoons of butter
10 oz. package of marshmallows
6 cups of rice krispies cereal
Directions: In a large saucepan heat the butter. Add marshmallows until completely melted and then remove from the heat. Mix in the rice krispie cereal and stir well. Spread the mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan land allow to cool.
Closing: Bring the class together and have them brainstorm things that they can do to fill up on Jesus. Possible answers would be to read the Bible, pray, and come to church. Tell them that if they want to have Jesus in their life as their Lord and Savior they must confess their sins to Him, and ask Him to be their Savior. Choose a child to close the lesson with prayer.