Have your kids ever seen a well? Do they understand how they work? Have they ever tried to carry a bucket of water from a well to provide water for some need? Today’s urban and suburban culture means many kids have never even seen a well.
Not understanding the importance of wells and the difficulties in using them means quite a few Bible stories lose their meaning for your kids.
Today’s devotional allows you to choose between three different Bible stories featuring wells. Use only one Bible story or look at all three for a more complete understanding of wells and the Bible stories about them.
Supplies: water source, well or photos of well, gallon or larger jug of bottled water (with handle) or large pitcher to fill with water, optional: several varieties of water
Procedure: Choose one of the following Bible stories and its application principles to teach your kids.
- Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 24. Technically, this story involves Abraham’s senior servant more than it does Abraham or Isaac. Sent back to Abraham’s extended family to find a wife for Isaac, the servant prayed God would show him the right woman by giving him a very specific sign. He wanted the woman to be the one who offered to not only give him water from the well, but also offered to water his camels. Why? The Bible doesn’t say, but one camel can drink 20 gallons of water! Since the servant had multiple camels, Rebekah had to have a servant’s heart to offer to draw 60-100 gallons of water from the well! Are we as willing to serve others? Will we help others when it’s hard work? God expects us to serve others and share our faith. He doesn’t say “Except when it’s tough.” It’s important to develop a servant’s heart.
- Lot and Abraham. Genesis 13-14 and 18-19. Lot was Abraham’s nephew. As they traveled towards what would later be known as the Promised Land, they had lots of animals that needed to be fed and watered. Animals were the cash of the day and evidently both men were very wealthy. The Bible tells us their servants fought over pasture land and access to wells of water. Abraham and Lot decided it was probably for the best that they separated their family groups and the herds that went with them. Abraham generously allowed Lot to choose first. Lot chose the land he believed was the best pasture and water sources. His choice revealed a heart that was at least somewhat selfish. His selfishness gradually drew Lot and his family closer and closer to the evil people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The ending to the story of Lot and his family is not at all happy. We need to be careful when making choices that they are ones God would want us to make. We should avoid making choices that may tempt us to reject God.
- Jesus and the Woman at the Well. John 4:4-26. Jesus was walking through Samaria. That was strange enough as the Jewish people hated the Samaritans and would often walk miles out of their way to avoid even walking on Samaritan land. When Jesus stopped to rest, he chose to rest near a famous well. He turned to ask a Samaritan woman to draw him a drink of water. The woman was shocked to be asked anything by a Jewish man. When Jesus revealed he knew everything about her life, she was even more surprised. Jesus patiently explained to her about his living water and she was so excited she ran into town to share the good news.We should be just as excited as the woman at the well about sharing the good news about Jesus with everyone we know.
In Bible times, there wasn’t running tap water. People got their water from wells when they could, as the water was often safer to drink than water found in open sources like ponds and rivers. There was no electricity, so there were no electric pumps to get the water from the depths of the well – often 30-40 feet or more below the surface. Large containers were lowered by rope, filled and pulled to the surface. It required strength and stamina.
There were also etiquette rules about wells. Most of the time water was drawn by servants or the women in a family. Most tried to go to the well in the cooler hours of the day. Those at the well in the heat of the day were generally there at that time because there was some issue or problem.
Share the Bible story you have chosen with your kids. Show them a well or photos of one. Explain the “well facts” shared above with them. Have them pretend to water a camel like Rachel. (They would need to carry a gallon jug of water a distance 20 times to water one camel!) If you are studying Lot and Abraham, having your kids haul heavy water jugs would give them a sense of why the servants wanted a convenient well to water their flocks. If the woman at the well is your story, trying tasting different flavors or brands of water as you discuss what Jesus said to the woman about living water.
After telling the Bible story, application and water experience, sit back down together and enjoy a glass of cold water. Talk about how you and your kids can live out the godly principles of the story you chose. Have them help you think of several concrete ways to live it out this week. Challenge each other to find ways to continue to live these principles every day.