Miracles In the Wilderness

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 33 - Life of Moses

TEXT: Exodus 16:11-31; 17:1-6


The students will be able to describe the miracles that God wrought in the wilderness. They will know that God cares for His people today and will see to their wellbeing.


Introduction: Take an empty child's lunch box and thermos to class. As you begin your session, talk about being hungry and wonder what might be in the lunch box. After discovering that it is empty, discuss how it would feel to be hungry and thirsty, and not have any food or water. Tell your group that today's story is about some times when the Children of Israel felt just that way.

  1. Meat and bread were promised by the Lord for the Children of Israel in the wilderness where there was nothing to eat.
  2. In the evening quail came and covered the camp so the people had meat to eat.
  3. In the morning when the dew was gone they found a small round thing on the ground. They called it manna. Moses said, "This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat."
  4. When they had no water to drink the Lord told Moses to take his rod and strike the rock. Water came out of it for them to drink.

Climax: God miraculously provided food and water for the Children of Israel.

Conclusion: Moses trusted the Lord and as he followed God's instructions, about three million people were given food and drink in the wilderness.

Response: The students will be able to describe the miracles that God wrought in the wilderness. They will know that God cares for His people today and will see to their well-being.


Because the Egyptian army was drowned in the sea, it did not mean that the Children of Israel would have no more tests. They went a three days' journey into the wilderness of Shur and found no water. Then the water of Marah was found, but it was bitter. One would think that the Israelites would have waited to see how God would work out this problem, but they murmured against Moses. God told Moses to cast a certain tree into the water and the water would be made sweet. It wasn't the tree that made the water sweet, but Moses' faith and obedience to God.

The next problem that arose was their diminishing supply of food. Naturally, one wouldn't expect to find food in a desert to feed a multitude of people. But we must remember that God was definitely leading these people by a pillar of fire and a cloud. Though they could all see the visible leading of God, again they murmured against Moses and Aaron. Fortunately, God was very patient with the Israelites and gave them manna in the morning and quail at night. If we follow the leading of God, we do not have to worry about what is going to happen. We simply need to trust God to see us through.

As they continued on their journey they came to a place where there was no water. Instead of remembering how God had supplied water before, they again murmured against Moses. Evidently they were very forceful in their murmurings as Moses cried unto the Lord and said that the people were ready to stone him. The Lord told Moses to take his rod and smite the rock in Horeb and it would bring forth water. Moses did as he was bidden and water came out of the rock in abundance. God did not bring forth water because the people murmured, but because He was merciful. Later on the Lord brought severe judgment upon them because of their murmuring (Numbers 11:1; 1 Corinthians 10:10). The Apostle Paul warns us in Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without murmurings and disputings."


  • Use flip-sided stick puppets to show happy/sad group of people, Moses with eyes closed praying/eyes opened, sun/moon, empty desert during day/quail in evening, manna in baskets/spoiled manna in baskets, rock/rock with water coming out (see Patterns). Use these to tell the story of the miracles in the wilderness.
  • Give each child a copy of the picture of Moses and the Children of Israel beside the rock (see Patterns). Cut around right side of rock on heavy line. Let the children color the picture and then fold on dotted lines to hide water. As you tell the story they may unfold their pictures to show water coming from the rock.
  • As a companion picture to the water from the rock, let the children draw manna in the picture of the Children of Israel with their baskets (see Patterns). The picture then can be colored.
  • Use a circle picture wheel to review the events of this lesson (see Patterns). Let children take turns moving wheel to the next section, telling what part of the story it represents.


  1. What is manna? What are quail?
  2. They gathered just enough manna for each day. What happened when they took too much?
  3. What did they do differently on the sixth day?
  4. How did they get water?
  5. How do you think your mother would have liked fixing dinner with manna?
  6. How do you think the people who looked for manna on the Sabbath felt when they didn't find any?
  7. How many rocks do you know of that have water in them?
  8. Have your ever hit a rock and had water come out?
  9. What made the water come out of the rock when Moses hit it?
  10. Talk about how God provides for you or for people you know.


  • Make Teacher Vi's Heavenly Manna. (Mix 1 cup butter with 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Add 2 cups flour and mix with hands. Shape into large ball. Place rounded pieces of dough—about the size of large peas—on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden.) Spread it out on the table in front of your little ones as you have them close their eyes and pretend it is night. (Or use any round cereal such as Oh's or Cookie Crisp, or puffed millet.) Let the children collect the manna into little baskets (see Patterns).
  • Give each child a small doll such as a Fisher Price or Playmobile person. Give them a folded piece of cardboard or construction paper to use as a small tent. Use one larger doll as Moses and have them bring their dolls in front of him to tell him their problem. Then they can have the little dolls collect the manna.
  • Help your little ones read the picture story (see Patterns). Let them paste on the sticker of Jesus in the appropriate spot. Read through the story several times so they can identify and say the word for each picture.


Bring a number of empty food boxes, an empty cereal box, and an empty water pitcher, cup, or bottle. Explain that the Children of Israel had to carry their supplies with them. Ask your group what the children of Israel should have done when they ran out of their supplies. What did they do?

Talk about why we need food and water. Show pictures of ways we use water. Show pictures of various kinds of food. Describe how troubled the Children of Israel were when they found themselves without food.

Review the lesson by playing a game with your group. Divide them into two or more teams. On a chalkboard or large piece of butcher paper, mark off a game path of squares. Write a set of review questions on slips of paper, number them, and write the numbers on each square. (It is not necessary to put the numbers in consecutive order on the game path. You may also wish to include a few squares which say "Complaining! Go back to 1" or ''Took too much manna. Miss a turn." Have a team member spin a spinner indicating whether he should move one, two, three, or four spaces. He must then answer the question which has the same number as the space on which he landed. If he cannot answer the question, or answers incorrectly, his team loses its next turn.