by Jim Ramsey
For thousands of years tales of a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters have been recounted across the world. The legend became particularly prominent in the 16th century when it became attached to the Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico, who supposedly was searching for it when he traveled to what is now Florida in 1513.
In reality, there is no literal fountain one can visit for healing, but more and more research is revealing a connection between our beliefs – and how we practice them – to our physical health. “They’re very intertwined,” says Dr. Harold G. Koenig, co-director and founder of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, and Health in Durham, N.C. “A human being is truly made up of a mind, a body, and a spirit, and they are so connected that you cannot separate them. We’ve been trying to pull them apart for a couple hundred years and it just doesn’t work.” Amazing isn’t it! God tells us this all through His Word, and we still don’t get it! The Word is life, and we might say it’s medicine as well.
We really don’t have to compete in sports events or discover a fountain of youth to add years to our lives, and life to our years. Consider these Bible principles that modern medical research supports and the results they bring:
Forgiveness, a central element of Christianity, can actually lower stress and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Prayer and Bible reading proves to have the health benefits of lowered anxiety and better immune system function, which involves less use of health services and longer life.
Church attendance may add eight years to your life. (A 1999 National Health Interview Survey that followed 21,204 people over eight years found that those who didn’t attend weekly services were almost twice as likely to die than regular attendees.)
Optimism (vs. worry) decreases risk of coronary heart disease and can give extra years of life.
Laughter has been shown to be connected to lower blood sugar levels and improved circulation. A University of Maryland humor therapist says “when you laugh heartily, every organ is being massaged, including your heart, lungs, and digestive system.” Remember Proverbs 17:22? – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…”
Rest, which seems to be valued very little in our society, can actually lower blood pressure, diminish depression, and lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. (Even God had a Sabbath Day!)
Committed Marriage can prevent undue strain on physical and emotional health. Studies have shown that divorced people are more likely to suffer from heart and lung disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
Giving of finances and time is known to increase longevity and the peace of mind and sense of fulfillment it gives are a tremendous lift to soul and spirit. It truly is “more blessed to give than to receive.”
Though there is no guarantee of perfect health, and even the most committed Christians suffer sickness and tragedy, God’s principles are unchanging and trustworthy as guides for a healthy life. We do, indeed, have a fountain of youth at our disposal if we will only drink of its waters.