My best friend and I developed this illustration for a girls retreat, but it could be used anytime.
All the participants (including the leaders) need a bottle of water (any size will do). The bottle should be clear.
We used this at a retreat in which we had three separate sessions of teaching. The students were told to bring their water to each session. The first session was on purity in relationships. At the end of the teaching we passed around a bottle of red food coloring. We told the students to add a drop of coloring to their water for every impurity in a relationship God was dealing with them about. It could a friend they lied to, a time when they disobeyed a parent, or an impure dating relationship.
We repeated the process at the end of the 2nd and 3rd sessions using blue food coloring at one and yellow at the other.
We closed the final session by saying something like this:
“We all have sin in our lives – things we need to make right with God and others. In the beginning they didn’t seem so bad. The red water wasn’t too bad to look at. Then we got into a few more things. The water turned darker, but it still didn’t look too bad. But as time went on and we went deeper in our sin, what was once Living Water inside of us has turned black. It doesn’t look like anything anyone would want to drink from. Sin not only damages our lives, but also our witness.”
The speaker then pulls out a container of bleach. While quoting a scripture about Jesus cleansing us from our sins and making us new, the leader uses an eye-dropper to add bleach to his/her bottle of water. The color will disappear and the “water” will become clear again, just like our sins disappear and Jesus makes us clean again.
If you were teaching on a single subject and wanted to use this, you could tell the students to use a different food coloring for each issue God is dealing with them about or just use a single color.