THREE IN ONE
Aim: To help children understand how the Godhead is a Trinity by demonstrating how water is one substance that can be in three different forms.
Scripture: 1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Materials: One quart jar with label removed, small pitcher of room temperature water, a dozen ice cubes in a small insulated carrier, a small towel for wiping spills.
The Bible tells us that God is three in one. We call this the Trinity. (Read I John 5:7.) In this verse Jesus is called the Word as he is in the gospel of John. (Read John 1:1) John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. If your name is William you might be called Bill. Jesus is sometimes called the Word in the Bible, and he is one part of the three in one God. The Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) is God.
Now, how can three be one? That might seem hard to understand but God gave us a wonderful example that we all can see. This example will help us to understand how ONE God can have three separate ways of showing himself.
(Bring out the jar where the class can see it and ask the following question.) Does anyone here know what H2O is? (Give the children a chance to respond.) H2O is what scientists call water. Today we are going to look very closely at H2O to learn about God. Now, what is H2O again? Yes. it is water. (Bring out the pitcher with the water.) I am going to pour some water into this jar, but before I do I need a volunteer to come up and examine the jar closely. (Choose a volunteer and ask the following questions.) Is the jar dry on the inside and outside? (Yes.) Are there any cracks or holes in the jar? (No.) All right, now I am going to pour water, oops, I mean H2O, into this jar till it is just half full. (Pour the water, thoroughly dry spills and ask vour volunteer the following question.) Is the outside of the jar still dry? (Yes.) Are you sure there are no holes or cracks? (Yes. I'm sure.) Thank you, (volunteer's name), you may sit down.
Now, remember we are going to use H2O to show how God is three in one. This liquid water is ONE way H2O can be. Can anyone tell me another way? (Let children respond.) Yes, liquid water, H2O, can be frozen to make ice! (Hold up an ice cube.) This water in the jar can be frozen to make ice and this ice cube can be melted to make liquid water. Both the liquid water and the ice cube are H2O.
All right, that is TWO parts of the way H2O can be, but God is THREE in one. Does H20 have another way to be that we haven't mentioned yet? (You will probably not get the third form from the children.) Did you know that there is water all around us in this room? Look around, do you see H2O in the air? (No.) You don't!! Well, in all honesty I can't see it either, but I know it's there. It is invisible!!!
Have you ever watched water boiling on the stove? If it's in a pan or teakettle you see 'steam' rise up like a white mist. Or maybe you have seen that misty spray come from the clothes iron while your mom is ironing. Did your mom ever tell you not to put your hands or face near that steam because it was very hot water and might burn you? Or have you ever gone outside on a cold day when you could see the breath come out of your mouth? It sort of looks like you are a chimney. Well, that misty white stuff is water vapor, H2O. But what happens to the misty H2O? It rises up into the air and disappears! It becomes invisible water vapor that is hiding all around us. Raise your hands if you think there is H2O in the air around us.
Now there is a way to make the vapor come out of hiding. To do that we have to put the water and the ice together. (Put the ice cubes into the jar of water.) Have you ever taken a glass of cold soft drink outside on a hot day and put it down for a minute? When you came back did you notice that the outside of the glass was wet all over? Did the glass leak? Or have you put the glass down on a table and later found a puddle of water on the table around your glass? Did someone spill water there? No, what has happened is that the H2O vapor in the air has come out of hiding. Let's see if that has happened with our jar. Yes, look at how wet the outside of the jar is. (Hold it up if necessary for the children to see.) Now we have our third form of H2O, water vapor in the air!
God gave us this example to help us understand about himself. Liquid water is H2O, ice is H2O, and hidden vapor in the air is H2O. The Father is God, Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. H2O comes in three forms because each form has its own job to do. You can wash clothes, and dishes, and yourself in liquid water. That would be impossible to do if ALL water was ice! You put ice in your drinks to make them cold. That wouldn't work if all water was vapor in the air. And the steam that comes from the iron helps remove the wrinkles from clothes. Ice cubes wouldn't do that! The three forms of water have different jobs that they do for us.
God made himself three in one because he had different jobs he wanted to do. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Neither God the Father nor God the Holy Spirit did that. The Father stays in heaven and records what he sees down here and watches over us. Two of the jobs of the Holy Spirit are to convict lost people of their sin and comfort saved people who are in trouble. God has many jobs so he chose to let himself be known in three ways. We call this the Trinity and we are thankful that he gave us H2O to help us understand about him.