A short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges tells of a Roman soldier, Marcus Rufus, who drinks from a “secret river that purifies men of death.” In time, though, Marcus realizes immortality wasn’t all it was cracked up to be: life without limits was life without significance. In fact, it is death itself that gives meaning to life. Marcus finds an antidote—a spring of clear water. After drinking from it, he scratches his hand on a thorn, and a drop of blood forms, signifying his restored mortality.
Like Marcus, we too sometimes despair over the decline of life and the prospect of death (Psalm 88:3). We agree that death gives significance to life. But this is where the stories diverge. Unlike Marcus, we know it’s in Christ’s death that we find the true meaning of our lives. With the shedding of His blood on the cross, Christ conquered death, swallowing it up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:54). For us, the antidote is in the “living water” of Jesus Christ (John 4:10). Because we drink that, all the rules of life, death, and life immortal have changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).
It’s true, we won’t escape physical death, but that isn’t the point. Jesus upends all our despair about life and death (Hebrews 2:11–15). In Christ, we’re reassured with the hope of heaven and of meaningful joy in eternal life with Him.