Contributed by Elder Paul D. M. Christensen, North America Northwest Area Seventy
"As we learn to trust our Heavenly Father and be obedient to his council, we are led to the living waters and are sustained in every needful way." - Elder Paul D. M. Christensen
The creation of the world, its beauty, splendor and ability to provide for all of our physical needs is truly a testament of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. As His children, we have been blessed with all that we need. Not only does our world provide shelter, nourishment and protection, but also it provides a wonderful variety, permitting us to exercise our agency, discover and develop our gifts and abilities.
The blessing of clear and clean water is one which we often take for granted. In North America, we can have water whenever we desire it and in almost inexhaustible quantities. We have all the water we need to hydrate ourselves and provide moisture for the crops which feed us. We often do not realize that this wonderful blessing of abundant, clean water is not enjoyed by many people around the world.
Frequently I travel to Africa searching for children who have been abandoned and are struggling to survive. On many occasions, I have found that clean water often means the difference between life and death. Without water, the landscape is harsh and cannot sustain life. On one visit to Kenya, I became aware of a tribe of the Maasai people that were dying from the effects of a drought. I and those with me provided them with food and supplies to help them cope with the lack of water. We also taught them how they could collect sufficient water for their basic needs.
On another trip, I came across a school located in a very remote region of the country. As I toured the schoolyard with the Headmaster, I noticed a collection of jars, cups and bottles, each filled with water. Upon inquiry, I was told that the school had no water. For a child to attend school, they had to go and find a cup of water and bring it to school each morning. After school, the children would scour the creeks, streams or nearby waterholes in order to collect the precious water that would permit them to attend school the next day.
We cannot survive without the water our temporal bodies need to sustain themselves. Likewise, our spiritual bodies need to be nourished by the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to flourish. Just as our physical bodies will shrivel and suffer without water, our spiritual bodies will ache and distress from the deprivation of the divine, eternal principles of the gospel. These principles and teachings can provide the answers to our many of life’s questions and the strength we need in our times of trial. As we learn to trust our Heavenly Father and be obedient to his council, we are led to the living waters and are sustained in every needful way. In the book of Matthew, our Savior invites us to, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29).
As we turn to our Saviour, we will feel of His love and receive solace to our souls. He taught the woman of Samaria from whom He requested a drink of water from Jacob’s well, “...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 4:13-14).
The living water of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a true source of strength in a world that is constantly changing. When we are confronted on all sides by difficult choices and temptations, this living water can provide a fountain of inspiration and fortitude. For those who feel that despite their best efforts they do not seem to rise above the daily struggle, I testify that the Saviour is the only one who completely knows and understands our specific situation. He descended below all things so that he could know how to succor us according to our needs. He loves us and desires to bring about our personal happiness and joy, yet he is bound by our own willingness to come unto him and apply His gospel in our lives.
During this season of thanksgiving, may we express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ for the many blessings we have received. May we drink heartily from the living waters of the teachings of Christ and extend our hand to our brothers and sisters who may be struggling to bear their burdens.