This object lesson teaches that you need to stay connected to Jesus in order to have the power to live a godly life and produce the fruit of the Spirit.
- John 7:37-39, 15:1-5
- Galatians 5:22
- Garden hose (long enough to reach your teaching area from the water spigot
- Short garden hose (a hose reel leader hose works well)
- Two quick connect adapters for the hose – need to have an automatic stopper so that the water doesn’t continue to flow after you disconnect it
- Water nozzle (as small as you can find so that you can use it to fill water balloons)
- Water supply that you can hook the hose to
- Nine large balloons (purple is the best color for the lesson if you can find it – you may want to have extra balloons in case any pop or have a leak)
- Posterboard – one sheet of any light color or white
- Permanent marker to label nine, small signs with the name of the nine fruits of the Spirit
- Lanyard or twine
- Clear, plastic tub to hold the balloons as they fill with water
- Thin piece of plywood or piece of plastic or metal (4 ft long) with nine 3/4 in holes drilled in it about 5 inches apart and 5 inches from the end of either side of the board. (You can often find a piece of metal that has pre-drilled holes in it that will work just fine near the shelving part of your local hardware store.)
- Drill and ¾ inch drillbit (if you need to make the board mentioned above)
- Nine, large washers with a ½ inch hold in the center (the washers must be big enough that they won’t fall out of the balloon once you put them in the opening)
- (SEE DIAGRAMS AT END OF LESSON)
- Connect the hose to the water spigot.
- Connect the quick connect adapter (the one with the automatic stopper) to the end of the hose, and turn on the water. Use a steady stream of water but not full force – maybe about 1/4-1/2 turn.
- Connect the short hose to the quick connect adapter at the end of the longer hose.
- Connect the other quick connect adapter to the end of the short hose, and screw on the water nozzle.
- Run the hose segments and the nozzle into the teaching area.
- Make a large sign that says, “DISOBEDIENCE,” and put it on the lanyard/twine so that someone can wear it around their neck.
- Ask a volunteer to be your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer and to be ready when you call them. Give him/her the sign to wear when the time is right.
- Put a washer in the opening of each balloon.
- Push each balloon through one of the nine holes in your board. The opening of the balloon and the washer should be on top of the hole with the rest of the balloon below the board.
- Put the board with the balloons across the clear, plastic tub so that the balloons hang down into the tub.
- Cut out nine, small rectangles from the posterboard (each about 4 in long and 2 in tall).
- Write the nine fruits of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) on these.
- Tape the signs to the bottom of the tub on the outside, facing the audience. Each sign should be in front of a different balloon.
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
- “I’m going to show you why it is so important for you to stay close to God.”
- “The night before Jesus was crucified, he said something very important to his closest disciples.” (Have volunteer read John 15:1-5.)
- “Jesus was making a comparison between His relationship with His disciples and a grapevine.”
- “Jesus said that He is the grapevine. That’s the thickest part of the plant that is rooted to the ground.”
- “He said that the disciples are branches and that the branches hold the fruit.”
- “We know from Galatians 5:22 that the fruit that Jesus is talking about is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (If the kids are not familiar with the fruit of the Spirit, you might want to take a moment to describe each one for them.)
- “And He says that if we (as the branches) don’t stay connect to Him (the vine), we won’t have any of this fruit.”
- “But….if we stay connected to Jesus, we will have LOTS of fruit.” (Ask for a volunteer to come to the front, and allow him/her to help you in the following demonstration.)
- “I don’t have a grapevine here today, and even if I did, we don’t have an entire season to watch the grapes grow on the vine.”
- “So, instead of using a real grapevine, I’m going to use this hose, this nozzle and these balloons to demonstrate what Jesus is talking about.” (Ask volunteer to hold the nozzle at the end of the hose.)
- “Imagine that this hose represents Jesus as the vine.”
- “Through Him comes a steady flow of living water, which the Bible tells us is the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.” (Turn on the nozzle (if it isn’t already) and have the volunteer point it into the tub. Have another volunteer read John 7:37-39.)
- “This nozzle represents us as the branches, and these nine balloons represent the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They are like the grapes on the vine.”
- “Now, the goal is to produce fruit and lots of it.”
- “We produce fruit by filling the balloons with the water. This is like the Holy Spirit flowing through us (the nozzle) to do the good works that the fruit represents.” (Allow your volunteer to begin to fill one of the balloons. Turn off the nozzle when the balloon is full enough that the water doesn’t come shooting back out the top – over half-way.)
- “But by itself, this nozzle is pretty useless. It has no water of its own to share.”
- “We can’t connect just the nozzle to a balloon and fill it.” (Disconnect the nozzle from the hose and give it to the volunteer. Ask them to try to fill the balloons with just the nozzle.)
- “That’s what it’s like if we try to do God’s work without God.”
- “There is just no power in it.”
- “So we have to stay connected to the hose if we want to have the power to do the work that God has given us to do.” (Reconnect the nozzle, and let the volunteer continue filling the first balloon. When it gets about full, start filling up another balloon.)
- “What does it mean to be connected to the hose? In other words, how can we stay connected to Jesus so that His Spirit flows through us and produces fruit?”
- “There are two things we need to do in order to stay connected to the hose/to Jesus.”
- “We need to spend time with God, and we need to obey God.”
- “If we do these two things, we will stay connected to Jesus, and His power will flow through us and produce lots of fruit.” (Allow volunteer to keep filling balloons slowly. Don’t allow them to fill all the balloons before you finish the next part.)
- “How can we spend time with God?” (Listen to answers. You are looking for things like, “Go to church, worship, praise, pray, read your Bible…”)
- “Excellent! During those times, God will tell us what He wants us to do in our lives.”
- “But spending time with Him is not enough. We have to also do what He says.”
- “Sometimes, we know what God wants us to do, but we don’t want to do it.”
- “That’s called ‘DISOBEDIENCE’ (bring your “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer forward), and it’s disconnecting the hose so that the living water won’t pass through.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer disconnect the hose so that the water stops.)
- “Disobedience stops the flow of the living water coming through your nozzle.”
- “Another word for ‘disobedience’ is ‘sin.’”
- “Sin stops the flow of God’s power, which He sends through His Holy Spirit, through you.”
- “But it’s easy to get the living water flowing again. What do you think you have to do?” (Listen to responses. You are looking for someone to say, “obey.”)
- “That’s right! Obey, and living water flows through you again to create more fruit.” (Have “DISOBEDIENCE” volunteer reconnect hose, and allow volunteer to fill in the rest of the balloons. Then dismiss the volunteer.)
- “So what are the two things we need to do to stay connected to God?” (Listen for the answers, “spend time with Him” and “obey Him.”)
- “Fantastic! Let’s all go and produce lots of fruit!”