Have you ever boiled an egg in a paper cup by placing it in a campfire? If you have, you have probably marveled at how the water keeps the cup from becoming ashes. This phenomenon has been the source of study in the home of Michelle Boulter, a mom from St. George, Utah, and her boys this week. Michelle is always on the lookout for a fun science experiment and it didn’t take much convincing to encourage a household of boys to try to set things on fire. Flames were lit under latex balloons, paper cups and plastic sandwich bags all filled with water. All of these normally flammable items stayed perfectly intact when filled with water, but without water, they burned and melted in seconds.
The Boulter boys went on to study the science behind why the water was so protective, but it was their inspired mom who explained the spiritual connection of Living Water: “But unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my kingdom, and the same shall be in him a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” (D&C 63:23).
Living Water is “a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings. As water is essential to sustain physical life, the Savior and his teachings (living water) are essential for eternal life.”
Just like water conducts the heat and absorbs the energy of the flame, thereby keeping the container from the full effect of the fire; the Savior has absorbed, through the Atonement, the eternal effects of the flames of our life, and “with his stripes we are healed.”
The fires of our day encircle our lives. Sometimes the heat is so intense that we feel as if we are in the midst of a roaring bonfire. We may have little ability to extinguish the flames that surround us, but we have been given a “predictable, dependable, and repeatable” law to keep us protected.
The strongest paper cup will burn once the water has evaporated. In order to keep the cup from becoming ash, water would need to be consistently added to keep the protection in place. Likewise, how do we go about keeping our lives filled with Living Water? Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explained:
“Do you wish to partake of this living water [spoken of in John 4:14] and experience that divine well springing up within you to everlasting life?
Then be not afraid. Believe with all your hearts. Develop an unshakable faith in the Son of God. Let your hearts reach out in earnest prayer. Fill your minds with knowledgement of Him. Forsake your weaknesses. Walk in holiness and harmony with the commandments.
“Drink deeply of the living waters of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (“The Abundant Life,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2006, 100)
Constantly filling our lives with Living Water doesn’t come easily; it takes work and dedication, but we all have access to the protection that Living Water provides IF we put the Living Water inside of us. President Russell M. Nelson encouraged us to do just that in his recent talk at the Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults:
“Commence tonight to consecrate a portion of your time each week to studying everything Jesus said and did ….if you proceed to learn all you can about Jesus Christ, I promise you that your love for Him, and for God’s laws, will grow beyond what you currently imagine. I promise you also that your ability to turn away from sin will increase. Your desire to keep the commandments will soar. You will find yourself better able to walk away from the entertainment and entanglements of those who mock the followers of Jesus Christ.”
“As we talked about this truth, I promised my boys that as they draw close to our Savior they will be able to withstand the fires of our day.” -Michelle Boulter
Just as Michelle taught her boys that their paper cup has no ability to be protected without holding water, we can teach our children to understand that we are constantly dependent upon our Savior as the source of our Living Water. As Elder Nelson explained, “In a coming day, you will present yourself before the Savior. You will be overwhelmed to the point of tears to be in His holy presence. You will struggle to find words to thank Him for paying for your sins, for forgiving you of any unkindness toward others, for healing you from the injuries and injustices of this life.
You will thank Him for strengthening you to do the impossible, for turning your weaknesses into strengths, and for making it possible for you to live with Him and your family forever. His identity, His Atonement, and His attributes will become personal and real to you.”
We may all feel like weak paper cups, but because of the Savior, we will have this opportunity to see Him again.