Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Samaritan Woman at the well - SEAL theme Changes - KS1 & 2

Once Jesus and his disciples were travelling from Jerusalem, in the south of the land where they lived, to Galilee, in the north. But between the two there was another land, called Samaria. The people who lived there – Samaritans – didn’t get on with Jewish people like Jesus and his friends. They didn’t talk to each other at all if they could help it. they didn’t eat together. Sometimes people would walk for miles around the edge of Samaria, rather than have to go into it. But Jesus and his friends just walked right into Samaria.
It was a hot day, and they had come a long way. They were hungry and thirsty and tired. After a while they came to a well, just outside a village, where the village people came to collect water – they didn’t have water from taps like we do. There was no one there now, though, because it was the hottest part of the day. No one wanted to be carrying water in this heat.

The disciples looked at Jesus and they could see he was even more tired than they were. “You wait here,” they said, “and we’ll go and bring some food from the village for you.

So off they went, and left Jesus to rest. Jesus sat on the edge of the well, and looked down into it. He could see the water at the bottom of it, and he really wanted a drink, but he didn’t have a bucket or a jar, and the water was too far down for him to reach. What a shame! He was so thirsty.

But just then he realised that there was someone coming towards the well. It was a woman, on her own, carrying a water jug. Jesus was surprised. Normally all the women came together, early in the morning when it was cool. They liked to go together too – it was a chance to meet and talk as they fetched the water. But this woman was all on her own, trudging along the road. Maybe she had no friends. Maybe the other women didn’t like her for some reason, or were mean to her, so she preferred to come on her own when there was no one around, even if it meant coming out when it was baking hot?

But Jesus was glad to see her. “Hello,” he said, “I’m so glad you’ve come. Could you get me a drink of water from the well, please? I am so thirsty, and I don’t have a bucket.” The woman looked at him in surprise. Jewish people usually didn’t talk to Samaritans if they could help it, and men didn’t usually talk to women unless they were part of the family, but Jesus wanted her help.
She was so surprised that he was talking to her, so surprised that he was asking for her help, so surprised that he was being so friendly that she gave him the water and sat straight down to talk to him. They talked about all sorts of things – their ideas about God and their different customs. Jesus wanted to know what she thought – no one had ever wanted to know what she thought before.
After they had been talking for ages, though, Jesus managed to find out what it was that made her sad, why it was that she was alone at the well in the middle of the day. She’d been married five times, but each time her husband had gone off and left her. Now she lived with someone who wouldn’t marry her. Everyone in her village thought it must be her fault if things didn’t work out for her – there must be something wrong with her. No one wanted to be her friend.
But Jesus did, and she started to realise that it wasn’t her fault that everyone was mean to her after all – there was nothing wrong with her at all.

When Jesus’ disciples came back from the village they were surprised to see Jesus talking to the woman, but they didn’t say anything. She got up and went home, but she felt quite different. She had a friend, someone who had got to know her and like her. Normally she kept herself to herself in the village, but not this day. She rushed from door to door, telling her neighbours about Jesus. “Come and meet him yourself,” she said. “He’s my friend, but he can be your friend too.”

· I wonder what you thought about that story?
· Jesus changed the way that woman thought about herself. She thought she was no good, that no one could like her, but Jesus showed her that there was nothing wrong with her.
· Sometimes we might need to change the way we think about ourselves – might think we are no good at something – or maybe the opposite, that we know it all and don’t need to learn anything new.
· Prayer – that we can learn to see ourselves as we are, not as other people tell us we are.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Joshua and the stones for remembering - KS 1& 2 - SEAL theme Changes

Joshua Chapter 4
Need: A long piece of blue material. 12 “stones” (crumpled up newspaper wrapped in crepe paper), a paper “stone” – cut out shapes – for each child.

Once the people of Israel had to go on a long journey. Can anyone remember anything about the story of Moses? (Gather responses)
The people of Israel had been slaves in Egypt, having to do what the Egyptians told them. But then God sent Moses to rescue them. He led them out of Egypt, and told them that they were going to travel to live in a new land, a land where they could be free, where there would be good land to grow things on. But it was a long journey to get there, through a desert. All along the journey, though, God gave them food to eat and water to drink. It was hard and sometimes they were very fed up, but after many, many years, they finally made it to their new land. Moses had grown old and died by this time, but a new leader called Joshua was leading them.

They came to a river, the river Jordan. Produce blue material and lay it on the floor. On the other side of the river, they could see their new land. It looked wonderful. How were they going to cross it, though? They didn’t have a boat and there wasn’t a bridge. But Joshua asked God for help, and God told him what to do. Just walk into the water, and it will part, just like the sea did when Moses led the people out of Egypt. Pick up the end of the “water” as if it has parted. So that is what Joshua and the people did, and as soon as they stepped into the water, a path opened up through the middle of it – dry land for them to walk in.
They were there! They had arrived! Finally! At last! They were very happy. Now everything would change. No more travelling. No more worrying about where the next meal would come from or if they would be able to find water. They had come home!

They made their first camp in their new land, and they were very excited. Everyone was thinking about the future.

But no sooner had they made their camp than Joshua summoned them all together. He chose 12 people -one from each of the 12 families or tribes of Israel - and gave them a very strange instruction. Choose 12 children to help.

"I want you to go back into the river!" "Back into the river? Why ? We’ve just come out of the river! "
"Ah, but when you get to the middle of the river, I want you each to choose a big stone from the river bed and bring it back to the camp." Put “stones” in the “water”.

The 12 people did what they were told. They waded into the water – it didn’t part this time, so the water rushed all around them. But they each managed to find a big stone from the river bed, and they lugged it back to the bank. "Now build the twelve stones into a big pile," said Joshua. Get the children to retrieve a stone each and build into a cairn at the front of the hall.

So they did just that…

“But why are we doing this, Joshua?”

“You are doing this because this is the place where our long journey ended and we came to our new home. It would easy for us to be so excited about the future that we forget where we came from and who helped us get here. We might forget that we were once slaves, and that God set us free. We might forget that when we were hungry and thirst and frightened God fed us and made us feel better. We might forget what it feels like to be treated cruelly, as we were then, and we might treat other people unfairly too.
That’s why we have put these stones here, because our children will see them and ask – “what are those stones for?” – and then we will be able to tell them the story of our long journey and remember all that we have learnt as we made it.”

And, so the Bible says, the pile of stones stayed there for many years, and whenever the children asked their parents “what are those stones for?,” the parents told the story of how God had rescued them.

I am giving each of you a paper “stone” to take away. I expect some of you are excited about the future too – going to a new school or into a new class, or maybe you are looking forward to the holidays. It is easy for us to get so excited that we forget the good things that we have done, and the things we’ve learnt. So we need to remember them.
I wonder what you have done this year, or learnt this year that you want to remember?

Gather some suggestions.

You could write or draw that thing that you want to remember on your stone. If you give them to your teacher we will stick them all up somewhere to help us all remember what we have enjoyed this year – the things we don’t want to forget.

· Time of silence to think about what we would put on our stone.

· Prayer of thanks for all that we want to remember from this year.