“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”
– Mark Twain
Well, Mr. Twain, I couldn’t agree more. The wisdom I have now would certainly have come in handy at the age of eighteen. However, as strange as it may seem, to be able to regain our youth and vitality, along with our hard-earned wisdom, is not completely out of the realm of possibility. More on that later.
Just out of curiosity, I decided to check out the wisdom of some learned scholars on the subject of the fountain of youth: what is it, and how can it be obtained? Here are a few of the more remarkable quotes:
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren
“I think I feel my best – I really feel the fountain of youth is inside, not out – when I’m just surrounded with love, when I’m with my family and we’re all having a wonderful time together. There’s nothing greater than your family surrounding you.” – Jaclyn Smith
“Exercise is roughly the only equivalent of a fountain of youth that exists today, and its free to everyone”. – S. Jay Ushansky
“Exercise is the fountain of youth, I believe.” – Richard Belzel
Well, there you have it. The fountain of youth is to be found inside of you in your mind, your talents, your creativity and the love you feel when surrounded by family. Exercise also seems to be a universal path to the good, youthful life. What happens, however, when your mind becomes sickened and weakened, and you can no longer reason. What happens when your hands become crippled with arthritis and you can no longer hold that paint brush, knit or crochet? What happens when your knees give out, your legs buckle under and you can no longer run? What happens when you lose those you most dearly cherish in this life, and spend your days in grief and loneliness? Is that the point at which you lose the illusive dream of the fountain of youth?
We’ve all heard the legend of Juan Ponce de Leon, the 16th century Spanish explorer who allegedly searched for the fountain of youth in his march across Florida. Alas, he never found it. He died at the age of 47 after being wounded by an arrow in a fight with Indians. Historians have long debunked the idea that he actually ever had any intentions of finding such a fountain.
If you visit Florida today, however, there are plenty of places you can visit that have the original Ponce de Leon fountain. You can actually drink from its healing waters that smell like sulfur and taste like boiled eggs. You can take bottles of the water home with you, as well as the T-shirt and post card. Surprisingly, since the 1860s, tourists from all parts of the world have visited these sites, and of course have taken advantage of swimming in the healing waters. (In reality, mineral springs have proven very beneficial and healing to the body.)
So, we are still in search of the illusive fountain of youth. Maybe if we go back further in history, to the ancient scholars we will find some clues. “Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig,” stated Marcus Aurelius. However, I’m not convinced that every man has a fountain of good within himself. The Bible, the Holy Scriptures, tells us “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)
What an exhaustive search. To think that so many have grappled with this illusive dream for centuries. Is the answer really all that difficult to find? I think not. Let’s look back at the Book that tells us our hearts are deceitful. Our hearts have convinced us that we can find the fountain of youth in family, in love, in talent, in exercise, in looking within.
But what does the Good Book say, the Holy Scriptures? It doesn’t take much of a search to find the answer. In the fourth chapter of the book of John we read of a conversation between Jesus, the Son of God, and a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water from a well. When he asks her for a drink, she is rather taken aback and surprised. After all, he was a Jew and she was a Samaritan, and it was taboo to even associate with each other. Then Jesus answers her query by this profound statement, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water….Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Later, in John chapter seven, he makes the declaration, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
And, so ends our quest for the fountain of youth. It really does exist! It is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. If you drink from this fountain, accept and believe in Jesus, you will never die. You will live forever in paradise with Him, in perpetual youth! Yes, Mr. Twain, even eighty-year-olds will be as eighteen again!