Timothy Shay Arthur, 1856
God is the author of all our blessings. There is no truth, perhaps, to which we are more ready to give our assent than this; and yet, a great many people seem to act as if they did not believe it, or, at least, as if they were prone to forget it.
A traveler stopped at a fountain, and, letting the rein he held in his hand fall upon the neck of his horse, permitted the thirsty animal to drink of the cooling water that came pouring down from a rocky hill, and spread itself out in a basin below. While the weary horse refreshed himself, the traveler looked at the bright stream that sparkled in the sunlight, and said thus to himself:
"What a blessing is water! How it refreshes, strengthens, and purifies! And how bountifully it is given! Everywhere flows this good gift of our Heavenly Father, and it is as free as the air to man and beast."
While he thus mused, a child came to the fountain. She had a vessel in her hand, and she stooped to fill it with water.
"Give me a drink please, my good little girl," said the traveler.
And, with a smiling face, the child reached her pitcher to the man who still sat on his horse.
"Who made this water?" said the traveler, as he handed the vessel back to the child.
"God made it," was her quick reply.
"And do you know anything that water is like?" asked the traveler.
"Oh, yes! Father says that water is like truth."
"Yes, sir. He says that water is like truth, because truth purifies the mind as water does the body."
"That is wisely said," returned the traveler. "And truth quenches our thirst for knowledge, as water quenches the thirst of our lips."
The little girl smiled as this was said, and, taking up her pitcher, went back to her home.
"Yes, water represents truth," said the traveler, as he rode thoughtfully away. "The child was right. It purifies and refreshes us, and is spread out, like truth, on every hand, free for those who will take it. Whenever I look upon water again, I will think of it as representing truth; and then I will remember that it is as important to the mind's health and purity to have truth, as it is for the body to have water."
Thus, from a simple fountain, as it leaped out from the side of a hill, the traveler gained a lesson of wisdom. And so, as we pass through the world, we may find in almost every natural object which exists, something that will turn our minds to higher and better thoughts. Every tree and flower, every green thing that grows, and every beast of the field and bird of the air — have in them a signification, if we could but learn it. They speak to us in a spiritual language, and figure forth to our natural senses the higher, more beautiful, and more enduring things of the mind.