The Joy of Water
Opening Prayer: When was the last time you were thirsty for a cold drink? A cola, fruit juice, milk? How did you quench that thirst?
First Reading: Exodus 17:3-7
During lunch at school, Jack played soccer. At a break in the action, Jack ran over to get a drink from the water fountain. Then, he saw the sign: "Water turned off."
"Come on, Jack," his classmates yelled. Jack ran back to the field and resumed play.
At the first bell after lunch, everyone seemed to line up for drinks at the water fountain. But, they all saw the same signs. Then, over the loudspeaker, everyone heard the principal's voice. "The city has turned the water off to the school. No one many use the bathrooms or fountains until the city turns the water back on. We hope to tell you when the water will be turned back on real soon." Both the students and the teachers stood still for a second with the same thought: "We need the water!"
Early that afternoon, Jack sat with a dry mouth in class. He really wanted a drink of water! Jack raised his hand. "Teacher," he asked, "when can I get a drink?" The teacher was as frustrated as Jack. "I don't know, Jack," the teacher replied, "but please be patient."
Suddenly, the principal's voice boomed over the loudspeaker. "Good news," the principal said, "the city just turned the water back on!" Then, the principal gave instructions who would line up to use the bathrooms and fountains first. While Jack stood in line for a while, his drink was long and tasted sweet.
Sometimes we take water for granted. But when the water is turned off to our schools or homes, we really need it. The Israelites in the desert were thirsty and complained to their leader, Moses. So, Moses prayed to God and God answered with plenty of water.
There are many things we don't think about until we need them. Trust God with your needs. So, when you receive what you need, it will be sweet, like Jack's drink of water.
Bridging Question: When was the last time you played in water? How much fun did you have?
Gospel: John 4:5-15, 19b-26, 40-42
About noon one day, Jesus came to a well near a Samaritan town. The town was at the foot of the mountain where the Samaritans worshiped God. Tired from his long walk, Jesus sat down at the well by himself. Then, a Samaritan woman came to get water. "Give me a drink of water," Jesus told the woman.
"How dare you ask me for a drink!" the woman shot back. "You're Jewish and I'm a Samaritan woman. Jews and Samaritans hate each other so much they won't even eat together!"
"If you only knew what God gives and who asked you for a drink," Jesus said, "you'd ask him for a drink. And he would give you water that makes people come alive!"
"Sir, you don't have a bucket. And the well is deep," the woman replied, "So, where will you get this 'living' water?"
"Everyone who drinks the water from this well will get thirsty again," Jesus answered. "But the person who drinks the water I will give won't ever get thirsty. Instead, the water I will give him leads to eternal life, like the leaping water of a spring."
"Oh, I see you're a prophet," the woman said, pointing to the holy mountain. "Our ancestors worshiped God on this mountain. But you say Jerusalem is the place where we need to worship."
"Trust me," Jesus replied. "The time will come when people won't worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. In a way, the time is already here! God's Spirit will lead faithful followers to worship the Father. And when they worship God, these followers will know as he really is. The Father wants such followers to worship him. God is found in the Spirit. The faithful must worship him by the power of his Spirit. And, knowing who is really is, they must worship him."
"I know the Messiah will come," the woman said. "Whenever that person comes, he will tell us everything we need to know."
"I'm telling you everything you need to know," Jesus replied. "I am the Messiah!"
For two days, Jesus stayed with the Samaritans. Many more people trusted him because of what he said. In the end, they told the woman, "We now trust Jesus, not because of what you told us, but because we've heard him ourselves. And we are convinced he came to save the world!"
Have you ever seen a geyser? A geyser is a small tunnel from ground surface to an underground pool of water deep in the earth. Hot, volcanic rocks around the geyser super heat the water, so the water shoots out the ground like a natural fountain. Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming shoots water sometimes 100 feet into the air every 51 minutes.
Have you ever played in a park fountain? Water shooting up and falling around can cool you on a hot, summer's day. You can splash water up in the fountain. Get good and wet.
Have you even taken a long drink on a drinking fountain? Cool, clear water soothes the throat and makes you feel more comfortable. Doesn't it feel good to take those long drinks?
Water shooting up like a fountain in the park or a geyser or a drinking fountain has a delicious beauty. Its cooling, its refreshment, its marvel draws us in. Now imagine what a fountain would feel like inside of you. (Pause for a moment's reflection.) How does the fountain feel? Describe it.
Jesus promised us a fountain that flowed from the inside. What do you think that fountain is? (God's love, his Spirit, or his blessings are all possible answers the children can give.) God always gives us this fountain of water. We just don't always feel it. Let's take a moment to feel God's fountain within us.
Closing Question: How does Jesus offer you his life? How can it make you come alive?