Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Living Water

                Have you considered the value of water?   Do you appreciate the clean and fresh water that is readily available in most places in the United States?  I have not always appreciated the water that is available to me, but I have learned to value it.  My children and their friends often mention how they miss the water in Alaska and how they long for a glass of it.  After spending some hot weeks in San Antonio, Texas, I came to understand what they mean.

                About ten years ago our water line sprang a leak where it connects to the main city line.  I discovered the leak just a day or so before I flew out to meet my husband in Utah to bring our new truck back to Alaska.  I finally connected with a contractor, and he arranged to get the water turned off.  Meanwhile our daughter was home without water.  She hauled water from the Church in five gallon jugs and showered at the Church until our Bishop and neighbor discovered what she was doing.  He invited to stay with his family until we returned home.  We made the trip up the Alaska Highway as quickly as we could do so safely.

As soon as we arrived, we arranged with our backyard neighbors to connect our hose from their outside spigot to our outside spigot and run water into our house that way.  This meant that every time we flushed a toilet or took a shower, they heard water running in their house.  I am sure it was not a pleasant experience for them, but I am grateful for their sharing their water and being able to do so without increasing their water bill.

The contractor came to make the repair, but when he began to dig the hole – about fifteen feet deep – he discovered that the soil was full of water.  He stopped digging because the soil kept sloughing off, making the hole wider and wider and threatening the integrity of our driveway and the street.  We waited a week or two for the ground to dry enough to be workable; meanwhile, we were getting our water through a hose.  Eventually, the repair was made, and our water was turned on again.  Yes, I know the value of water.

                Elder David A. Bednar spoke of the value of water on February 4, 2007, at a Church Education Fireside (CES) for young adults held at Brigham Young University (BYU).  He began his talk by asking a question:  “What is the most valuable substance or commodity in the world?  We might initially think that gold, oil, or diamonds have the greatest worth.  But of all the minerals, metals, gems, and solvents found on and in the earth, the most valuable is water.

                “Life springs from water.  Life is sustained by water.  Water is the medium required to perform the various functions associated with all known forms of life.  Our physical bodies are approximately two-thirds water.  Whereas a person can survive for many days or even weeks without food, an individual will usually die in only three or four days without water.  Most of the world’s great centers of population are situated near sources of fresh water.  Simply stated, life could not exist without the availability of and access to adequate supplies of clean water.”

                Elder Bednar continued his talk by discussing the Savior’s use of the term “living water.”  The New Testament teaches about an experience of Jesus Christ and His disciples as they passed through Samaria on their travels from Judea to Galilee.  They stopped at Jacob’s well located in the city of Sychar.  Jesus waited at the well while His disciples went into the city to buy food.  While Jesus waited, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water, and He asked her for a drink of water.

                Since the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, the woman was surprised at Jesus’s request and questioned Him about it.  “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
                “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep:  from whence then hast thou that living water? …
                “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
                “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:7-11, 13-14).

                Elder Bednar explained that the “living water referred to in this episode is a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel.  And as water is necessary to sustain physical life, so the Savior and His doctrines, principles, and ordinances are essential for eternal life.  You and I need His living water daily and in ample supply to sustain our ongoing spiritual growth and development.

                “The scriptures contain the words of Christ and are a reservoir of living water to which we have ready access and from which we can drink deeply and long.  You and I must look to and come unto Christ, who is `the fountain of living water’ (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 11:25….), by reading …, studying …, searching …, and feasting … upon the words of Christ as contained in the holy scriptures.  By so doing, we can receive both spiritual direction and protection during our mortal journey….”

                Elder Bednar explained that we can access the “living water” in the scriptures, and he reviewed “three basic ways or methods of obtaining living water from the scriptural reservoir:  (1) reading the scriptures from beginning to end, (2) studying the scriptures by topic, and (3) searching the scriptures for connections, patterns, and themes.  Each of these approaches can help satisfy our spiritual thirst if we invite the companionship and assistance of the Holy Ghost as we read, study, and search.

                After further explanation of how to use the three methods, Elder Bednar said, “Each of these approaches – reading from beginning to end, studying by topic, and searching for connections, patterns, and themes – is edifying, is instructive, and provides an intermittent portion of the Savior’s living water.  I believe, however, that the regular use of all three methods produces a more constant flow of living water and is in large measure what it means to hold fast to the rod of iron.

                “Through normal activity each day, you and I lose a substantial amount of the water that constitutes so much of our physical bodies.  Thirst is a demand by the cells of the body for water, and the water in our bodies must be replenished daily.  It frankly does not make sense to occasionally `fill up’ with water, with long periods of dehydration in between.  The same thing is true spiritually.  Spiritual thirst is a need for living water.  A constant flow of living water is far superior to sporadic sipping.

                “Are you and I daily reading, studying, and searching the scriptures in a way that enables us to hold fast to the rod of iron – or are you and I merely clinging [to the iron rod]?  Are you and I pressing forward toward the fountain of living waters – relying upon the word of God?  These are important questions for each of us to ponder prayerfully?”

                Nephi, an ancient American prophet, encouraged his people to “feast upon the word of God” in order to learn the things that they should do (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 32:3).  A “feast” is more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  We usually consider our Thanksgiving Day dinner to be a feast.  Banquets are usually considered to be feasts.  A feast is a meal that usually contains a lot of different rich and special foods.  A feast is usually a joyous time of celebration and delight.  I think we should all frequently ask ourselves: Do I study the scriptures with joy and delight?  Do I “feast” on the scriptures or do I simply “snack” or “nibble” on them? 

                A couple of years ago I had an interesting experience with the scriptures in three different ways.  I listened to the Book of Mormon as I jogged each morning.  I read a chapter in a Book of Mormon for one grandchild.  I marked words and phrases and wrote principles in a Book of Mormon for another grandchild.  I learned that I did not concentrate too well while listening, but I gained a little more by reading and much more by concentrating on what I wanted my grandchild to gain from the scriptures.

                I am grateful for the opportunity to have the scriptures in my home and for the ability to read them.  I am grateful for the knowledge and testimony I gain from the scriptures.  I know that the scriptures are living water for our souls, and I encourage you to drink from the living waters daily. 

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