It went through! The stellar tool I held in my hands was now an even more amazing gem. It punched a hole in a popsicle stick! My mind raced, searching for ideas for how to use this newfound power from the Christmas gift my sister-in-law had given me. I knew I wanted to punch a hole in the popsicle sticks, and that led me to want to put something through it. After a couple of days of letting the experience marinate, it hit me.
I grabbed two popsicle sticks from our shoe organizer on the back of our office closet door. Then, I grabbed two different ones because those were already colored on by one of my Sharpie-wielding girls. I punched a hole at the top of each using the power punch. I set them down on the craft table and ran to the kitchen pantry. Reaching past the snacks, I found our giant pack of bendy straws and took one out. Back in the office closet, I found my stash of plastic cups for crafting (you know, the ones that have fallen all over the floor, or otherwise been licked by a kid and have therefore nullified their usefulness for company.) Hunting down the tape was probably the hardest part. Ever since my kids learned how to tear off the tape properly, we’ve been continuously out of tape. Once I had some in hand, I taped my two hole-punched sticks inside the cup.
If you don’t have a power punch, all is not lost! You can use pipe cleaners instead. Just make a loop at the top of each that a straw could fit through with wiggle room. This is probably the simpler way, in fact, but when you’ve just discovered a hole punch that can make it through a popsicle stick . . .
Anyway, threading the bendy straw through the two holes in the popsicle sticks, I bent the bendy end and started twirling it. Then, I snagged some blue construction paper and cut water drops. On each drop, I wrote one word from the Gospel:
To make this simpler for you, there are three different PDFs you can use to cut your water drops. The one with all the drops and words already typed, woman at the well water drops, the one that has just drop outlines so the kids can write the words, woman at the well water drops no words, and the one that has seven drop outlines, woman at the well water drops one drop. When you print the third one, you can accordion fold the paper all the way to the end, cut around the printed outlines while it’s folded, and not have to worry about your duplicates below lining up correctly.
I taped each water drop (I just free-handed them) to a piece of yarn with about an inch and a half between each one, and with a bit of extra room at the top to attach it to the straw. Eeeking out one last piece of tape from the tape dispenser, I secured the yarn to the middle of the straw. I turned the bendy straw handle. The yarn slowly curled up with the paper water drops in tow. Then, the real test, unrolling it. The kids have to be able to do it over and over again if it moves. It didn’t get stuck! Up and down again went the water drops.
To decorate it a bit more so it looks like a stone well, you can snag this freebie image from Canva. I reshaped one of their freebie pictures in Illustrator so that it will fit around a plastic cup. I printed it out in black and white, partly because I don’t have a color printer, and partly because the stones in Israel would have been primarily white.
The kids can do all of the taping. You can prep it for them by printing, cutting, and hole punching. Each child should have tape, a plastic cup, two hole-punched popsicle sticks or twisted pipe cleaners, the stone covering, a bendy straw, a piece of yarn, seven water drops, and a marker if they’re writing the words themselves.
Despite my excitement about this craft, it never got to be used by the kids, actually, because our Bible Story Time (Mass Prep for 0-5 year olds) didn’t happen the Monday I had it prepped for. But this craft idea has remained with me ever since. It reminds me that, over and over, we have to ask for Christ’s living water. We have to admit our vulnerability and our inadequate resources and ask for what we really need, especially right now when we’re purposefully weakening ourselves during Lent as Christ did in the dessert over 2,000 years ago. The devil’s not going to miss the chance to attack us when we’re down. To win against him, we need Christ’s Living water. We need to remain part of the True Vine. We need to follow the Good Shepherd.