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Muddy Water

Don’t worry!

by Kirstine Davis

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To consider that worrying does not help us; God invites us to talk to him.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a bag that contains two bottles: a clear bottle of clean water from which you can take a drink, and a clear bottle of muddy water. The muddy water should consist of solid mud, sand, water, sticks and leaves that will float around in the water. Make sure that the lid is tightly sealed!

  • Optional: you may wish to read the Bible passage found in Matthew 6.25-27.


  1. Take the clear bottle of clean water out of the bag and have a drink.

    Tell the children how much you like drinking water, and then place the bottle back in the bag. Ask the children a simple question such as what they had for breakfast, and then listen to a few responses.

  2. Explain that talking makes you thirsty.

    Pull out the clear bottle of muddy water from the bag, making sure that you secretly shake it up first.

  3. Exclaim, ‘Look what I’ve found in my bag! Ugh, it’s awful! There’s mud at the bottom and loads of other stuff floating around in it! There’s a stick - and a leaf!’

    Show the bottle to the children.

  4. Point out that looking at the muddy water reminds you of all the things swirling around in your head. Thoughts about schoolwork, family, friends, hobbies, what you are going to eat for lunch and so on. So many thoughts about so many things!

  5. Explain that most of us have times when we can’t see everything clearly. Sometimes, we find it hard to concentrate because we are worried about things. Sometimes, problems at home or with our friends mean that we lose concentration at school or we find it difficult to sleep because we can’t seem to get the problems out of our minds.

  6. Point out that sometimes, we worry about little things that seem unimportant to other people – but they matter to us. Sometimes, we have serious things going on in our lives and no one would blame us for feeling worried.

  7. Place the bottle of muddy water out of sight on a table, allowing it time to settle while you continue to speak.

    Explain that the Bible says a lot about worrying. In fact, some Bible scholars have calculated that phrases such as ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Do not fear’ and ‘Do not be afraid’ appear in the Bible 365 times. That would be one for every day of the year. Point out that you haven’t counted them yourself because you would be worried that you’d missed one!

  8. One Bible verse says, ‘Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will wear . . . just look at the birds . . . they don’t worry about anything and God looks after them – you know you are far more important than they are!’ (paraphrased from Matthew 6.25-27)

    Another Bible verse says, ‘Give all your worries and cares to God because he cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5.7)

  9. There is a famous saying: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’ Sharing a problem with a friend can make it seem less of a problem.

    Christians believe that, rather than worrying about everything, they can tell God about their problems and trust him to take care of them. They believe that praying and telling God what is on their minds will help them to cope. They believe that God answers their prayers.

  10. Show the bottle of muddy water to the children again. (Hopefully, it will have cleared by now.)

    Explain that now things have settled down, the water doesn’t look too bad. All of the stuff is still in there - nothing has been taken out - but things look a lot clearer.

  11. Sometimes, speaking to other people and to God about our problems can make our problems seem smaller and our minds clearer.

Time for reflection

Let’s spend a moment in silence.

- Maybe you are worried about something.
Maybe you know that you need to speak to a teacher, parent or friend.
Maybe you want to speak to God about a problem.

Let’s remember that all of us need help at some point in our lives. We should never be afraid to seek help. We should never be afraid to ask.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for giving us food to eat and clothes to wear.
Thank you for giving us friends.
Help us not to worry about things.
Help us always to speak to others when we are facing difficulties.
Help us to be good listeners.
Thank you that you promise to be with us throughout our lives.

Publication date: May 2018   (Vol.20 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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