The Ultimate Gift

The Story Behind the Real Fountain of Youth

Myth has it that the conquistador, Juan Ponce de León, learned of a magic fountain of rejuvenating water on his second voyage to the New World with Christopher Columbus in 1493. In 1512, Ponce de León was granted permission to explore and settle an uncharted island known as Bimini. His purpose: to find the rumored Fountain of Youth—that legendary fountain that would restore youth to anyone who drank from its waters. In pursuit of Bimini, Ponce de León mistakenly landed on the eastern coast of Florida and, thinking it was Bimini, continued his search. His pursuit for the Fountain of Youth continued for another eight years until he was killed in battle. Although Ponce de León was unsuccessful in his search for Bimini and its fountain, the tale of the Fountain of Youth lives on even today.1 2

Tales of magical, rejuvenating waters existed well before Juan Ponce de León entered the scene. Alexander the Great is purported to have come across a healing “river of paradise,” and other similar stories have surfaced across the globe over the ages.3 But one thing has remained constant: the idea of obtaining an everlasting lifesource continues to fascinate mankind. The notion of escaping death, humankind’s common lot, is too much to resist. Who wouldn’t give anything they have to be able to live forever with the vitality of youth?

The Great Deliverer

Throughout the centuries, from the beginning of mankind, prophets and wise men have prophesied of a certain deliverer—a person who would overcome death and grant the same privilege to the entire human family. Isaiah, a prophet in the Old Testament, said this: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces”4 The righteous man Job prophesied: “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God”5 Who was this person? Who would it be that would come into the world and overcome death and then give everlasting life to anyone else that had been or would ever be born?

Birth of Jesus

The Babe of Bethlehem

A little over 2,000 years ago, a very special person was born into the world—Jesus of Nazareth. Given His humble beginnings, it seemed unlikely that anything terribly significant would ever come from this child, let alone save mankind from death. But this was the very person that had been foreseen for centuries. This was the Great Deliverer. This little baby would grow and develop into such a person and accomplish great enough things that not even death could conquer Him. And, in merciful fashion, He would then bless everyone with immortality, the gift of living forever in a perfected body. He would literally award everyone with the blessings of the Fountain of Youth.

Jesus Is Risen

Given His supernatural mission of overcoming death, one would think that Jesus would have been respected above anyone else. This was hardly the case. Many individuals hated Jesus. It’s the ultimate irony that someone so special could be treated in such a way, yet it is true. Despite his naysayers, Jesus boldly proclaimed His life’s mission to others. The scriptures share how Jesus taught that “he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day”6 Numerous sources of scripture attest that this very thing happened. Jesus was crucified on the cross, buried in a tomb, and rose again on the third day. After conquering death, He appeared to many. To prove that He had actually risen from the dead, He ate fish with His disciples and invited His followers to come and feel His body. This whole experience had such an impact that certain individuals devoted their entire lives to teaching others about Jesus conquering death. It is now one of the basic principles of Christianity.

Life Everlasting Is No Myth

Unlike the legend of Juan Ponce de León, we do not need to spend our lives searching out a magical source of water that will restore youth and vitality. The source of everlasting life is right in front of us—our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus rising from the dead is not just a folktale taught from long-dead prophets. People have affirmed it in our day as well. Joseph Smith, a modern-day prophet, related this experience: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of Him, this is the testimony, last of all which we give of Him: That He lives! For we saw Him, even on the right hand of God”7 Best of all, because Christ overcame death, all who die will rise from the dead. It is a free gift to the entire human family. I couldn’t think of a better gift to consider this Christmas season.


  1. Jesse Greenspan, “The Myth of Juan Ponce de León and The  Fountain of Youth,” last modified April 1, 2020,
  2. “Juan Ponce de León” last modified August 21, 2018,
  3. Jesse Greenspan, “The Myth of Juan Ponce de León and The  Fountain of Youth,” last modified April 1, 2020,
  4. Isa. 25:8
  5. Job 19:26
  6. Matt. 16:21
  7. D&C 76:22-23