The Lord must have found a certain joy in creating the world; its wondrous diversity is matched only by its boundless beauty.
From the alpine splendor of the European Alps to Oregon's rocky seashore, from the enveloping humidity and thick vegetation of the Amazon jungle to the arid nothingness of the Sahara Desert, each area offers its own grandeur.But most seem to prefer green mountains to brown deserts.
So those who travel the vast deserts of Southern Nevada are more than a little surprised when their path leads them to the Pahranagat Valley. This green-but-not-abundant sliver of land lies incongruously amid the monotonous and parched sagebrush-covered desert soil. A literal oasis, the tree-covered valley is a refuge to migratory birds and indigenous wildlife.
How thoughtful of the Lord that, when creating this part of His footstool, He'd include three natural springs in the otherwise barren wasteland. Those springs give physical life to the area's plants and animals.
In some ways the people of the world reflect its geography; their wondrous diversity, too, is matched only by their boundless beauty.
But because agency sets us, those who people this earth, free to make choices, we sometimes create our own spiritually barren wastelands.
How thoughtful of the Lord that, when creating the plan that would provide salvation and exaltation to His children, He'd include a way to reclaim all of us - even the spiritually barren. As an irrefutable sign of His infinite love, mercy and kindness, the Lord not only provided life-giving springs to southern Nevada's desert, but He provided messengers to flood the earth with His life-giving gospel.
The Pahranagat Valley is home to enough Latter-day Saints to comprise two wards, the Hiko Ward and the Alamo Ward, each with a few hundred members. Many of those faithful Saints eke out at least part of their daily living by farming or ranching. They know all too well the priceless value of water.
Over the years, these two wards, like virtually every ward in the world, have sent missionaries to the far reaches of the earth. Currently some nine missionaries are scattered around the globe, teaching the gospel of salvation.
And, like all of the Church's more than 50,000 full-time missionaries, these young elders "were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men." (D&C 103:9)
To be such saviors, the Church's missionaries offer the world the living water of which Christ taught.
And that leads one to at least wonder if those Pahranagat Valley missionaries think about their green valley when they teach what the Savior taught the woman at the well:
"There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
"(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
"Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
"Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
"The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
"Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
"But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:7-14)
Some 100 years ago, when the Pahranagat Valley was settled, it was only because of the life-giving natural springs. Now, however, with today's advanced hydro-engineering, virtually any place in the world could be irrigated and brought to life.
Man, however, cannot alone provide the living water of eternal life. For many, it comes from the Lord through His missionary servants. Those who receive the message with sincerity will be led to say, as did the woman at the well, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not." (See John 4:15)