Sunday, August 5, 2012

Living Water

The story of Jesus and the woman at the well, from the fourth chapter of John, is familiar to children. In it, Jesus proves to the Samaritan woman that He is the Messiah by telling her all about her private life, she then runs to town to tell everyone else, a crowd comes and persuades Jesus to stay, He does for two days, and many believe in Him. The teaching about living water is usually skipped in Sunday school, thus leaving the difficult material to the preachers to explain. Children are capable of understanding more than we give them credit for. I want to make the concept of living water comprehensible to kids, and maybe a few adults in the congregation. 

It sounds like it should be simple analogy, ordinary water to spiritual water, but I was surprised at the several interpretations my studies unearthed. Living water is variously presented as being (a) Jesus, (b) the Holy Spirit, (c) salvation, (d) the love of God, (e) belief in Jesus, and (f) God's grace. The sermon I like the best, is Charles Spurgeon's "The Water of Life," number 770 preached in 1867. Here is the link to it: http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols13-15/chs770.pdf. It is eminently adaptable to a children's lesson.

As the children come forward, give each a little 8 ounce bottle of water.
Here is a little bottle of water for each of you.
Save it for later. Maybe you could save it for bedtime.

People like to talk about their weekends. Our friends ask us all the time, "What are you doing this weekend?"
That's an easy question. We say, "Oh, I'm going to do this or that, and, of course, I'm going to church on Sunday." That's very interesting," our friend might say, "Where do you go to church?"
That's an easy question. We say, "I go to the KV Christian Church." "Oh," says our friend, "you are a Christian! Tell me, what's it like to be a Christian?"
That question is not so easy. What's it like to be a Christian?
Take that question, and hold on to it. We'll answer it before we're done.

I promised Anna a story about Jesus today, and here it is:

Jesus and His disciples are traveling, walking from Jerusalem to Galilee. About half way they stop for lunch in Samaria. The disciples go into town to buy food, and Jesus waits by Jacob's Well. A woman walks up to the well to fill her jar with water. Jesus says to her, "Give me a drink, please." At first the woman does not know Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Then He says, "If you knew who I am, you would ask me for water, and I would give you living water, that lasts forever, and you would never be thirsty again!" The woman says, "Sir, give me this living water, so I won't have to come to the well every day."

She thought Jesus meant ordinary water. But Jesus offered her living water. Let's try to understand living water.

*Ordinary water is good to drink when you're thirsty. But living water is for our thirsty hearts. All of us are thirsty for God's love.
*Ordinary water is good for soaking hard things to soften them up. Think of a dry sponge. But living water softens up our hard hearts. All of us think we are not so very bad, but we are.
*Ordinary water is good for putting out fires. But living water puts out every fire of temptation in our hearts. All of us are tempted by Satan.
*Ordinary water is good for washing. But living water washes our hearts that are dirty from sin. All of us do wrong.
*Ordinary water is good for growing plants and blooming flowers. But living water makes our hearts grow and bloom with good deeds. All of us need help doing good.
*Ordinary water is good for floating and swimming. But living water floats our souls all the way up to heaven. All of us want to be in heaven when our bodies die.
*Ordinary water, like the water in the well, is still. But living water bubbles up like a fountain out of our hearts. All of us could shower other people with living water, by living a Christian life.

When Jesus offered living water to the woman at the well, He was offering her a new life, a Christian life. And He offers it to you, and He offers it to me, and He offers it to every single person in the whole world. Do you want the living water? I can't give it to you. Mom and Dad can't give it to you. The preachers in church can't give it to you. Only Jesus can give you living water that lasts forever.

Remember your friend with the question, "What's it like to be a Christian?" Now it's an easy question because we learned about living water and what it's like to follow Jesus.

*It's like always having God's love.
*It's like soaking our hearts in living water to stay soft and humble.
*It's like putting out the fires of temptation with living water.
*It's like being washed clean with living water when we are bad.
*It's like being watered with living water so we can grow and bloom and do good.
*It's like floating in living water all the way up to heaven.
*It's like being a fountain of fresh, bubbly water, sharing Jesus Christ with everyone.

But it's not just having the water. You have to take the cap off the bottle and drink the water! How do we drink from Jesus' living water? We pray.

Bow your heads, fold your hands, and close your precious eyes.

Wonderful God,
We ask for Your living water, although we do not deserve it.
Won't You make us fresh fountains of bubbly, living water, so we can share You with everyone.
In Jesus name we pray, amen.

6 comments:

  1. That is simply wonderful, thanks for your child-friendly explanation of living water! I will use it for my children's message tomorrow morning in church. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for such a wonderful explanation! I will use it tomorrow at Chapel. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It is just what I needed for tonight's lesson - its super hot here in Texas so I thought we would learn about living water and then run through the sprinkler to really 'feel' the lesson. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. What a blessing it was to me. I can't wait to share it with the children within our ministry. May God continue to bless you and your ministry!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you so much. I was working to try and clearly explain living water to children in another country on a mission trip. Your lesson has helped me to clarify what I was trying to teach them. Thank you so very much. Know that through your blog, you too are going to teach children about Jesus in a far away country by helping me with my lesson. God Bless you sister!!! So thankful that I stumbled upon your blog!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Beautiful take on the story. I did the children's sermon today based on this. I love the poetic comparisons.

    ReplyDelete