Just a drop of water
Human beings are quite literally a water species living on a water planet. We are made up largely of water and most of this planet's surface is covered by ocean. Without water there would be no life as we know it. Along with the gift of light in the Genesis story of creation comes the gift of water - water below in the form of rivers, lakes and seas and water above in clouds and vapour. This classroom reflection picks up on this truth and introduces the theme of the difference that just a drop of water can make, likening it to the difference each one of us can make for good in this world.
Ideally you will need a metal bowl, so that when water splashes into it, it will make a sound. Also a small jug of water or perhaps a container with a stopper, so that you can arrange for a regular drip of water to fall from it into the bowl.
1. Begin this time of reflection with a riddle. Pause after each line and invite some guesses as to 'What am I?'
I am stronger than rock but can be flattened by your hand.
I can run and I can fall; I can sparkle and I can stand.
I am sometimes hard and sometimes soft; and sometimes just can't be seen.
I can be clear or muddy, but I love to make you clean.
I am in you and around you; above you and below.
You cannot live without me. I am everywhere you go.
What am I?
I am water!
2. Water is something that makes this world very special. Without it there would be no life. Water is all around us. It can be in the form of ice or liquid or steam. It can fall as rain, run as a river, sparkle in a drink or stand in a pool. With time water can wear away the toughest rock and it can also be pushed flat between our hands.
3. Listen to the sound of water falling.
Pour water into a bowl slowly or perhaps arrange for it to drip regularly from a container.
What do we use water for? Invite suggestions from the class.
Water makes the grass green, the trees blossom, and the flowers bright, and without it we cannot live for long.
4. Sadly, though, we often take water for granted. In some parts of the world where it does not rain so often, water is valued as something very precious. For example, in parts of Africa where there has been a drought it is not unusual for people to run out into the rain when it comes, laughing and shouting 'Hallelujah', because water is so important.
5. The Bible story tells us that God gave the world the gift of water right back in the beginning. Arrange for a reading from Genesis 1:1-10 (CEV):
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God was moving over the water. God said, 'I command light to shine.' And light started shining. God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness and named the light 'Day' and the darkness 'Night'. Evening came and the morning - that was the first day. Then God said, 'I command a dome to separate the water above from the water below.' And that's what happened. God made the dome and called it ‘Sky’. Evening came and the morning - that was the second day. God said, 'I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground.' And that's what happened. God named the dry ground 'Land' and he named the water 'Ocean'. God look at what he had done and saw that it was good.
6. Every drop of water is important and can make a difference. Link back to the water that you have poured or which is still dripping into the bowl.
I wonder what the world would be like without any water?
I wonder what it is like to feel always thirsty?
I wonder how I could describe to an alien visitor what water tastes and looks like?
I wonder just how much water is all around me now?
7. We sometimes think that certain things are so tiny or commonplace that they aren't worth very much. We may use the expression 'it's just a drop in the ocean'. In other words, whatever we are talking about is so small that it isn't worth even noticing! But the truth is that every drop is important. Every drop makes a difference. Read the following short poem carefully, pausing after each line and linking it to the sound of the water dripping in the bowl.
Just a drop in the ocean?
Or could it be the drop that saves a person from dying of thirst?
Could it be the drop that causes the full beaker to overflow and so changes everything?
Might it be the drop that excites a greater thirst?
Perhaps it is the drop that catches the light and shines out like a jewel, bringing hope?
Or maybe that drop is the first tear to melt a stony and angry heart?
Or could it be the drop of medicine that brings healing to the sick?
People say it's just a drop in the ocean
but by God's grace
there can be an ocean of good things in every drop.
8. Sometimes each one of us feels like just a small drop in a bigger ocean... of the class... or the school... or the town...or the world. We wonder if our little drop can make any difference. But it can and it does. Each one of us may feel just like a drop in the ocean but that one drop could do enormous good.
9. Have a short time of quiet as you listen to the water dropping and offer a few thoughts about the day ahead, for example:
I wonder what difference your drop of water will make today?
I wonder how it might help cool those who are angry or upset?
I wonder how it might tickle a smile out of those who are sad?
I wonder how it might bring relief to those were struggling?
I wonder how you might be like a refreshing drop of water today to those who are thirsty?
Because every drop can become an ocean of possibilities with God,
Who, though vast as the ocean,
became a drop for us as Jesus,
so we might be filled with the ocean of God's love.
10. There are other stories in the Bible, which could be used to explore the power and influence of water. You might like to look at these in subsequent reflections, such as:
The story of water coming from the rock - see Numbers 20:1-11.
The story of Jesus at the well talking to a lady who had come to draw water - see John 4:3-39.
The story of the widow's small jar of oil which contained enough in the end to fill many jars and rescue her from poverty - see 2 Kings 4:1-7.
The story of the water of the river that runs through the New Jerusalem, which is a picture of heaven - see Revelation 22:1-2.