My first encounter with these developments came in the late thirties when my mother took my sister and me shopping at the giant Sears Roebuck building across the street from the baseball field. Mother would hustle us to the basement to get a drink of water bubbling from a white porcelain fountain. That water was piped from the old Ponce de Leon Spring into the Sears store. It was good then, but when the Sears building was sold to the city of Atlanta in 1990, the old spring was found to be polluted and a corrupted sewer line had added contamination that had to be addressed before the grand old building could become “City Hall East.”
We had returned to live in Atlanta only three years when the Crackers ballpark was demolished. With it went memories of the Baptist World Convention of 1939 when Granny Swan came and stayed at our house, and of the 1950 Billy Graham Crusade, and of countless Ladies’ Night ball games with my aunts.
We can no longer think of a pure, clean, ever-flowing spring when we pass the Midtown Shopping Plaza, as the old park is now called. They say the old magnolia tree still stands beyond what was once center field. It now edges the mall’s parking lot. Cities, building and people do change, but Jesus never.
The Apostle John tells us that Jesus was on hand as the throngs pressed forward to the temple in Jerusalem. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles Jesus openly proclaimed:
“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37b-38 KJV