Years ago, it was a big thing to travel from northeastern Ohio to Florida in the winter months; it wasn’t as common as it is today. I was quite young when my parents made that trip, (they were probably younger than I am right now!)…and I recall the excitement we shared as a family when we gathered around the picture screen to see their slides they had taken in that faraway, beautiful place! One slide in particular is engraved in my memory. It was of Mom, surrounded by lush, tropical flowers and vegetation, drinking water from the “Fountain of Youth”. That is where Ponce de Leon, one of the sailors who sailed with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World, went to find “The Fountain of Youth” with the blessing of Spain’s King Charles V. On April 2, 1513, Ponce de Leon landed at what he named St. Augustine, and found the magical water source he was searching for. Drinking of its waters was supposedly the key to staying young.
Mom drank of its waters, but they were not magical. She grew old – like everyone – and after a very full and blessed life, passed away at 95 years of age. Ponce de Leon’s “Fountain of Youth” didn’t affect her in the least. What DID give Mom a youthful spirit well into her old age is that every day, from her youth until her last days on this earth, she drank of the water of life that Jesus gives. He explained this truth to the woman at the well in the gospel of John, chapter 4: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (4:13,14)
Today would have been Mom’s birthday. She was born 99 years ago, and although Ponce de Leon’s water didn’t extend her youth, we know she is now living and rejoicing with the One who freely gives His water of life to all who thirst. Praise God, He still gives it freely! Anyone for a drink??