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Just add water

Celebrating the Women’s World Day of Prayer (7 March 2014)

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage children to reflect on the difference water can make, physically and figuratively.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a selection of props – see Step 1 and choose according to what you have available and would like to use.
  • You will also need a leader and three readers.
  • Familiarize yourself with the story in John’s Gospel, chapter 4.
  • There is more information on the Women’s World Day of Prayer at:


  1. Leader

    Talk about the objects you have chosen (see ‘Preparation and materials’ above) and discuss as follows.

    A wilted plant
    What is wrong with this plant? What does it need? What would happen if I gave it some water?

    Instant noodles in a pot
    Mmmm  . . .  this looks good enough to eat. Well, actually it doesn’t. It’s hard and full of powder. What does it need? What would happen if I added boiling water?

    Compacted flannel
    I got this flannel for my birthday, but it’s really hard. I can’t use it like this. What does it need? What would happen if I soaked it in water?

    A crystal-growing tree
    This is so exciting. It looks so beautiful on the box, but it doesn’t look like that in real life. Have I been given a dud one or something? What does it need? What would happen if I added water?

    A teabag
    I said to my friend, ‘I need a good cup of tea’ and she gave me this! What am I meant to do with this? I can’t drink it. I could eat it, but it doesn’t look very appetizing. What does it need? What would happen if I added boiling water?

    In all of these examples, we needed to add water. Water would bring life to the plant. The pot of hard, dry noodles would become edible with water. The flannel would become soft and absorbent. The crystals would grow on the tree. The teabag would make a lovely cup of tea.

    Water is essential to life. We need water to live. Adding water brings life.

  2. Leader On 7 March, there is a Women’s World Day of Prayer and the theme is water. 

    Every year, on the first Friday in March, Christian women all over the world pray. Each year, the service is written and prepared by women from a different country. This year, Christian women from Egypt have prepared the service.

    The people of Egypt know all about the importance of water. Egypt is in North Africa and is a very hot country. Much of it is desert. 

    What is the river in Egypt called?

    The Nile. It is the second longest river in the world. The Nile is known as ‘the gift of life’ because it brings life to the soil. The people grow crops to eat so that they can lead healthy lives.

    It is good to remember how important water is to our everyday lives. There are still 884 million people worldwide who do not have easy access to clean water. Water is even more important than food for survival. Humans rely on clean, fresh water for growth and good health.

  3. Leader In John’s Gospel, chapter 4, we can see that Jesus knew what it was to be thirsty. We see him in desperate need of a drink. He meets a Samaritan woman beside a well and asks her for some water. Most Jewish men at that time would not talk to a woman they did not know, let alone a Samaritan woman, as Samaritans were regarded with contempt, but Jesus was good at talking to all kinds of different people, even those disapproved of by others. 

    Jesus goes on to say that he can give her living water and she will never be thirsty again. He is not talking about normal water; he‘s talking about the gift of life, which will never run dry. That’s hard to understand, I know. Think back to the objects I showed you at the beginning of this assembly. Doesn’t life sometimes feel like that? Boring, dry, a little sad? Do you sometimes feel discouraged or anxious?

    Do you wish you could have a fresh injection of life, something to inspire you and give you hope?

    I think that’s the kind of thing Jesus was talking about.

    – Sometimes someone is a good friend and we feel encouraged.
    – Sometimes a teacher says we have done a good piece of work or been really helpful and we feel inspired.
    – Sometimes someone smiles at us and we feel happy.
    – Sometimes someone asks how our day has been and we feel interesting.
    – Sometimes Mum gives us a hug and we feel special.

    These words and smiles and hugs can feel like streams in the desert, bringing new life to our hearts.

Time for reflection

Leader Let us take a moment to think about streams in the desert.

As we bring this assembly to a close, let us take a moment to reflect on water and the difference it can make to the world and all our lives.

Reader 1 Let us think about the importance of water in our world today.
Let us say thank you for the water that we use to drink and wash with everyday.
Let us remember those who do not have fresh water.
May access to clean water for all be a priority in our world today.

Reader 2 Let us remember the Women’s World Day of Prayer on 7 March.
Let us think of the Egyptian Christian women who have written and prepared the service.
May the whole day be a day of power and action as women all over the world join together and pray.

Reader 3 Let us learn to be streams in the desert in our everyday lives.
May we be good friends to others.
May we bring encouragement to others.
May we bring life and happiness to others.


‘Peace is flowing like a river’ (Come and Praise, 144)

Publication date: March 2014   (Vol.16 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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