**This is a guest post from Nick Diliberto from PreteenMinistry.net
Lesson Title: Thirsty? (Woman at the Well)
Bible Passage: John 4:7–10; 13–14
Bottom Line: Like water satisfies the body, Jesus satisfies the soul.
OPENING GAME – HUNGRY?
Supplies — Signs that say: Family, School, Sports, Shopping, T.V., Online Activity, Video Games. Feel free to modify this list based on your specific preteen group.
Put one of the following snacks in each bowl and spread them throughout the room:
- Goldfish Snacks
- M & M’s*
- CoCo Puffs*
- Rice Chex Mix
- Graham Crackers
- 1 Plastic cup per student
- Sharpies for students to write their names
* Feel free to substitute healthier options or come up with your own snack items.
How to play: Pass out plastic cups to preteens and tell them to write their names on it with a sharpie. When you say go, students go around the room and fill up their cups with snacks. They choose what to fill their cup up with based on the signs, not their preference in snacks. They should look at the signs and take the amount of snack for each one based on what they fill up their time doing. Give students about 5-10 minutes fill up their cups. When all the students are complete, have them sit down with their cups filled. Take a few minutes to ask the students what they picked and why.
Next, say: I want you all to think about something. Where is God in all of this? We often fill our time doing everything else except spending time with God. Now, the activity wasn’t completely fair because “God” wasn’t on one of the signs. But that was on purpose. Why? Because that is what we often do. Other than coming to church, God doesn’t fit in our schedule. We spend time doing everything else. We would much prefer spending time online, with friends, playing sports or video games…or whatever else you spend your time doing.
Today, we’re going to talk about why it is important to fill our lives with God.
- Box of saltine crackers
- Four bottles of water
- Optional – free countdown video from freecountdownvideos.net (choose one you link) or upbeat background music.
Thirsty? video – http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J10MBJNU. The video is free. You can download it to show students (click the download button below the video) or simply stream it from the above URL if you have internet access in your room.
Today we are going to explore a conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman. Jesus went out of his way to talk to her, which was looked down upon for a couple of reasons. First, she had a bad reputation in town. Second, she was a Samaritan, and Jews didn’t like Samaritan’s because they were looked up as second-class people. Jews thought they were better than them.
Let’s dive into the story.
Read John 4:7–9:
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink? (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Read John 4:10; 13–14:
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus was using water as an illustration. Like water satisfies the body, a relationship with Jesus satisfies the soul. Let’s break this concept down in small chunks.
First, water satisfies the body.
Try going a day or two without drinking any liquid containing water. In fact, your body can go days and weeks without food, but can only go a few days without water. Your body is made up of mostly water and needs a steady supply of it to function.
I need four volunteers to come upfront for a cracker eating challenge. If you want to be picked, you have to like crackers.
(Choose four volunteers)
(Optional – During the competition, play a countdown video from freecountdowns.net. Another option is to play upbeat background music.)
(Get out the box of saltine crackers. Have preteens stand near the box. Place four bottles of water near the crackers.)
The four of you are going to race and see who can eat the most saltine crackers in two minutes. Whoever completely swallows the most crackers wins. You might notice the water bottles near the crackers. Well, you can’t have any water. Sorry. The rest of you in the audience, your job is to cheer for all four of them. Make some noise.
Ready, set, go!
After the competition congratulate the winner.
Say – I have a question for all four of you. What does your mouth feel like right now? (Get responses) How thirsty are you? (Get responses) What would you think if I said you couldn’t have any water till after church? (Get responses) Well, that wouldn’t be fair of me, would it? I can see you’re very thirsty, so each of you, go ahead and take a bottle of water to drink. Enjoy! You can go back to your seats now.
[Volunteers return to their seats]
We need water to survive. That’s why water was the starting point of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman. What exactly was the point he was trying to make?
Like water satisfies the body, Jesus satisfies the soul. We have a soul, which is basically the part of us that will live forever. It is the deepest part of ourselves that motivates us to do everything that we do. Like our body needs nourishment, our soul needs it too. Our soul craves something, but often we don’t realize what it is that our soul needs. This thirst will motivate us to fill our soul with things like being popular, having good looks, having a lot of cool stuff, being #1 at sports or other activities, being a rock star at video games and so on. Now, most of those things I just listed aren’t bad by themselves. But when we they consume us, they are bad. When we go to them to feed our souls, we’re missing out on something big.
The only thing that can satisfy our souls is a relationship with God. When we decide to follow Jesus, the relationship begins. Then, we continually go to Jesus to satisfy our souls.
How? Let me give you an example from my life.
(Personal example – Take a few minutes and share how Jesus satisfies your soul. Give one specific example. What does this look like for me, the author? I enjoy taking walks in nature and praying. When I do this, I feel connected to God and have a sense of his presence. I especially enjoy doing this when I am stressed out, going through a tough time, or really busy. My soul gets filled with the love and peace of God. What works for you? Share it with students.)
That’s one way that Jesus satisfies my soul.
Here are some other ideas:
- By inviting to be a part of everything we do. How can we do that? (Get responses)
- Spend time reading the Bible and praying. Why do you think that is important? (Get responses)
- By being aware of what God is doing around you. How can we do that? (Get responses)
Wrapping up today’s message, we are going to watch a video titled Thirsty? As you watch the video, ask God to speak to you through the video. Listen to what he might be saying. There really is no right or wrong answer. Each of you might get something different from watching the video.
You’re each going to get an index card and marker. (Begin passing out index cards and markers.) As you are watching the video, write down what God Is revealing to you through this video. Then, take that card with you to small group.
[Watch Thirsty? Video]
End in prayer and dismiss students to small groups.
Allow students a few minutes to share what they wrote down on their index cards.
Next, ask – What one “take away” did you get from today’s message?
Activity: Thirsty or Quenched?
- Two plastic cups per preteen
Give each preteen two plastic cups and a sharpie. With the sharpie, have preteens write thirsty on one cup and quenched on the other one. Cut out the bottom of the thirsty cup. Have students glue magazine clippings of common things that people use to fill up their soul (other than God) onto the thirsty cup. On the quenched cup, have your students write words (or even Bible verses) that describe what it means for Jesus to satisfy their souls.
Allow students 10-15 minutes to complete the project.
When complete, have students share their cup with the rest of the group. Why did they choose those words on the quenched cup? Why did they choose those magazine clippings on the thirsty cup?
Great job everyone. Now, take these cups home to remember what we talked about today.
Nick Diliberto is the creator of PreteenMinistry.net, which provides creative curriculum and resources for preteen ministry. He is also the preteen columnist for Children’s Ministry Magazine.