After we climbed trees, played badminton, and created stick homes for freshly dug roly polies (otherwise known as doodle bugs), our thirst drove us to water. With sun-kissed faces and mud-caked fingernails, my brother and I raced toward the garden hose, giggling all the way.
We let the hose run a bit until the water cooled, drank our fill, then returned to our backyard play. Summer days found us thirsty for water and outdoor fun.
Years later, at age seventeen, a different thirst troubled me. My heart felt dry and empty, but I couldn’t identify the problem. I craved peace. For months I tried and failed to improve my attitudes and actions.
One morning during Sunday school a guest speaker asked the group if we knew the US president. We all nodded because we recognized who he was and what he looked like. Then she asked if we knew about him or knew him personally.
She continued, “Would he invite you into the Oval Office as his friend? Would you be comfortable engaging in conversation with him and sharing your heart as he listened?”
Then the speaker bridged her introduction from the president to God, and I understood why I felt a vacant place in my heart. A regular church and Sunday school attendee since birth, I realized I knew about God and believed in Him but lacked the personal relationship He offered. I couldn’t imagine sharing my heart before His throne.
I realized I knew about God and believed in Him but lacked the personal relationship He offered. @jeanniewaters44 #parenthood #parentsTweet
That night I knelt beside my bed and looked out at the stars. I asked God to forgive my sins, and I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus who I knew died for me. I trusted the words of Romans 10:9:
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (ESV).
My newfound relationship with Jesus quenched my soul’s thirst. Jesus spoke of our need for Him when He said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink (John 7:37 ESV).
God gradually created in me a longing for prayer, biblical truth, and fellowship. The following summer, with excitement and a desire to learn and grow in Christ, I studied the Bible with Christian friends. Together we enjoyed cookouts, pool parties, and badminton games.
Decades later, summertime rekindles joyful memories, not only of childhood days when the garden hose quenched my thirst, but also of my first season as a child of God when He satisfied the empty dryness I couldn’t identify.
While children are on summer vacation, how can we design joyful and fruitful days for them? More importantly, how can we cooperate with God to create a thirst for Him in their hearts? Consider adding these ideas to your family’s favorites.
A Drop, a Splash, and a Cupful of Summer Fun
A Drop of Scientific Investigation
- Place a collection of objects beside a small plastic swimming pool. Form a hypothesis about which objects will float and which will sink. Encourage older children to estimate the number of marbles required to sink a foil boat.
- Use inexpensive paintbrushes to “paint” a section of the driveway with colored water. Use a stopwatch to measure how long evaporation takes in the sun and in the shade.
- Place small toys in ice cube trays or other small plastic containers. Add different colors of food coloring and freeze. When frozen, place outdoors with a container of warm water and droppers to thaw out the toys and watch colors mix.
A Splash of Backyard Water Play
- Create an obstacle course for children to navigate while holding cups of water.
- Set up a carwash for bicycles, tricycles, and scooters. Include plastic pails and sponges.
- Engage the little ones in making Yard Stew, a delightful combination of leaves, flowers, seed pods, and water stirred together in a large pot. Add a ladle and plastic bowls for pretend servings.
- Make a water balloon, but don’t fill it. Use the tied end of the balloon or a rubber band to attach the balloon to the handles of a plastic grocery bag. Toss the new toy into the air and watch the parachute float down. 1
A Cupful of Scripture and Service
- Read Psalm 104:10-18 and talk about how God provides water. Work together to list and illustrate the family’s daily uses of water and thank God for His provision.
- Read Matthew 25:34-40 and talk about how love for Jesus leads us to do good deeds. Take a bottle of cold water to the mail carrier, a sanitation worker, or a neighbor cutting grass.
- Research regions of the world that lack clean drinking water and mark them on a map. Pray for the people who inhabit those areas and consider a donation through a reliable ministry.
Enjoy the summer!
1 “Water Balloon Parachute,” Pikes Peak Library District.
Nurturing a thirst for God in the midst of summer’s fun @jeanniewaters44 #summer #parenthoodTweet