Ponce de Leon was a Spanish adventurer who, with the sanction of the king of Spain, set out to find the legendary Fountain Of Youth . In the year 1513 he searched the coast of what is today the state of Florida in a vain attempt to locate what he envisioned to be a source of perpetually life sustaining water. What a dream, what hope! Eliminating physical death. Of course, his efforts proved to be futile. There is no such water source.
At one time, however, mankind had access to a tree whose fruit provided exactly what Ponce de Leon was looking for. Not surprisingly, it was called “the tree of life” ( Gen. 2:9 ). By God’s blessing the fruit of that tree sustained physical life as long as an individual would continue to eat thereof ( Gen. 3:22 ). When man entered into sin, however, God removed him from access to the tree of life, and physical death became a reality ( Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 6:23 ).
How tragic, the opportunity to live forever wasted! What would life in this world be like without having to face the constantly looming reality of death? One would think with the elimination of death that sickness, pain and suffering would also be greatly curtailed. It would seem reasonable to suppose that there would be far fewer doctors and hospitals. But sin is a reality of human life- “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” ( Rom. 3:23 ). And the consequence of sin is death ( Jas. 1:14-15 ).
Ponce de Leon was looking for immortality within the physical realm. That prospect was not only an impossibility, because of sin, but it was also shortsighted. When man became sinful, God set in motion His plan for man’s redemption, forgiveness and salvation ( Gen. 3:15 ). God sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world to be the Savior of mankind ( Lk. 2:11; 19:10 ).
His death on the cross provided us with the opportunity to be redeemed from the guilt and condemnation of our sin ( Rev. 5:9 ). In Him we can find “eternal life” ( Rom. 6:23 ). That, in essence, is what the adventurer de Leon sought, but he was focused on physical life and looked for it through a physical source. The only source of eternal life available to mankind- Jesus Christ- came to this earth nearly fifteen hundred years before Ponce de Leon was born. In Christ alone can we find life without end ( Jn. 1:4; 1 Jn. 5:11-12 ).
Jesus Christ provides the only true “fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” ( Jn. 4:14 ). It is spiritual in nature, not physical, and as such has far greater effect than what de Leon was looking for. The blood that Christ shed on the cross cleanses from the guilt of sin anyone plunged beneath the waters of baptism into Him ( Jn. 3:5; Eph. 5:26; Acts 2:38; 22:16 ). Therein they find eternal salvation ( Mk. 16:15-16).
Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth? An unreal myth. Eternal life in Christ? Absolutely real and available to all who will come to Him on His terms ( Matt. 11:28-29 ). Have you come to the true fount of life..?
Gary L. Hutchens