Mar 20

“Need a drink?” a Change for Children object lesson based on John 4:5-42

Objects needed: A box of saltine crackers, a bottle of water (or several bottles… as you might want to give each child a bottle)

Key Text: John 4:5-42

Theme/Main Idea: Jesus meets the needs of our thirsty souls.


“Good morning! How are you this morning? Are you filling up your change cans at home or in your Sunday School class? I sure hope so! It makes a big difference in the lives of the children at Intermountain. You know what else makes a big difference… at least for me when I am hungry? [Take out saltines.]

That’s right! Food. Food is really important, right?! In fact, I am so hungry, I am going to eat some right now. [This is where you get to do your “Cookie Monster” impersonation and shove A LOT of crackers in your mouth].

Mmm-fff. Uh-oh. I think I forgot something… my mouth is really dry [it’s bad manners, but will make more of an impact on the kids if you say this with the crackers still in your mouth]. I need something! What do I need? [wait for responses]

Yes! Something to drink! Thank goodness you are all here to help take care of me. I have some water around here somewhere… [pull out water bottles and open one to drink. Make a BIG deal out of how refreshing it is and how much better you are now that you have washed down the crackers]

Ahh! So much better. You know what? This reminds me of a story from the Bible. Jesus met a woman by a well who was really thirsty, too. But, unlike me, she was thirsty for a different reason. It wasn’t because of the bad choice to shove a bunch of saltines in her mouth. No, she had made other bad choices. She had made bad choices about relationships with people.

She was trying to quench a thirst for love and belonging with other people rather than with God. She had tried and failed many times to love and be loved in relationships… and it just wasn’t working. Something was still missing. Down deep in her soul she was SO thirsty.

And then she met Jesus.

Jesus told the woman that he could meet her needs. She could know him and grow closer to God and she would never have that thirst again. She could stop looking to other people to make her happy and fulfilled, and instead she could let Jesus fill up her heart and soul.

Well, just like me with the saltines, she jumped at the chance to have her thirst quenched! More than that, she got so excited about not being thirsty anymore, she thought about all the other unhappy and unfulfilled people she knew in her home town. She thought, “They are just as miserable and thirsty in their hearts and souls as I was… I have to make sure they meet Jesus, too!”

This woman had a lot in common with the children and families we work with at Intermountain. Something has broken down in a relationship because it’s grown hard to trust and depend on another person, a caregiver, a child or a parent. Jesus is a big part of the healing that needs to happen in these young people’s lives. They need to know that God has put wonderful people around us to care for us and love us, but that ultimately there is a thirst for love and belonging that I believe only Jesus can meet completely. It’s in a relationship with him that our thirst be fully quenched.

Let’s pray:

God, thank you for meeting our needs for relationship, love, and care in your Son, Jesus. Just like the woman in the story, it is easy for us to try and fill our needs with things that just leave us thirsting for more. We long, Holy Spirit, to be filled up with you… Filled so much that our joy, just like the woman AFTER she met Jesus, that our love and caring spills out towards others! Continue to bless our efforts to fill our change cans for the children at Intermountain, working so hard on their relationships and learning more about Jesus every day, just like us. Thank you that we can be part of the answer to their longing to have their thirst for true love and acceptance met in relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”


A quick note from Chaplain Chris: Did you like this object lesson? There are more like it on the Resource page as part of our supplementary materials for “Change for Children,” a program designed to connect your children with the work of Intermountain’s Chaplain’s program! Check it out now, and thank you in advance for your support!