Pure truth

Science with a twist

Show how pepper “flees” from a soapy cotton swab.

Discussion point: Lying and other sins separate us from our holy God; seeking His forgiveness restores the relationship.

For this experiment, you will need a small bowl of water, a peppershaker, cotton swabs (the double-ended stick swabs), liquid dish detergent and some additional water.

  • Prior to beginning the experiment, coat one end of the cotton swab with dish detergent. Leave the other end free of soap. Mark the soapy end in a way that only you will know which end it is.
  • Shake a generous amount of pepper onto the surface of the water in the bowl. Explain that the pepper represents people.
  • Tell your children that the cotton swab represents God. Put the non-soapy end of the swab in the water and move it around to let some pepper gather on it. Explain that when we are truth-tellers, God will allow us to come into His holy presence.
  • Next, tell your children that the people in the bowl have been lying. Ask them to list some ways the people could be telling lies. Then place the soapy end of the cotton swab in the bowl and watch the pepper flee! Explain that when we have been lying, God doesn’t want us in His presence, nor do we feel comfortable coming to talk with Him until we have confessed our sin.
  • Add some extra water to the bowl. As you do so, explain that when we ask God to forgive our sins, He washes our sins away. (Adding the extra water causes the pepper to scatter across the water’s surface again.)
  • Finally, using the non-soapy end of the cotton swab, swish the cotton swab through the pepper, showing that the pepper no longer “runs away” from the cotton swab. Emphasize that after we have confessed our sin, God welcomes us back into His presence.
Relevant Scripture

Psalm 24:3-4 “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false [or swear falsely].”

Psalm 101:6-7 “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with Me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to Me. No one who practices deceit will dwell in My house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in My presence.”