Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Activity 2: Story - The Water Bearer's Garden

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story "The Water Bearer's Garden" a few times. Consider telling it dramatically, rather than reading it from the page. Practice telling it. Claim the storytelling; for example, try adopting different voices for different characters. The stories here are written for a Story for All Ages moment-part performance, part ministry.
  • For storytelling, be ritualistic. Create a mood and time that is different from other moments in the session. For example, turn overhead lights off and use lamps. Position yourself where all can see and hear you. You may wish to wear a storytelling shawl.
  • Review discussion questions. Choose some you think might resonate with this particular group and that will help them share their interpretations of the story and relate it to their own experiences.
  • If the group is large, plan to form smaller groups (no less than three participants) for discussion. An adult leader should facilitate each small group.

Description of Activity

Tell the group that the story, "The Water Bearer's Garden," comes from India . Ring the chime (or other noisemaker), make eye contact with each participant, and read or tell the story.

Sound the chime (or other noisemaker) again at the end. Invite participants to think silently on their own about the story. Say:

Now we are going to practice listening and discussing skills-both are needed to help us understand the story from multiple perspectives. Let's find out what one another thought about the story.

Remind them not to assume others think or feel the same way. Ask everyone to use "I think" or "I feel" statements. Encourage the group to listen to each comment and then share some silence. Use the bell or chime to move between speakers.

Invite participants to retell the story, briefly, in their own words. What children recall and relay tells you what they found most meaningful or memorable.

Then use the following questions to facilitate discussion. Make sure everyone who wants to speak has a chance.

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you could not do a job up to expectations, like the cracked pot? How did you feel?
  • Why didn't the cracked pot notice the flowers until the water bearer pointed them out?

Ask the group to think of other flawed objects. You might suggest ripped jeans, a lamp with no bulb, a torn umbrella, or a scratched mirror. Guide the group to consider how the objects' flaws could be gifts or blessings.


Invite the children to consider the next question quietly to themselves. If they are comfortable doing so, they may close their eyes. Give a full minute for reflection.

  • What might be your own imperfections? What might be the blessing of these?

Tell them they might like to use their reflections when they work on their Window/Mirror Panel later in the session.