AN AMAZING FACT: In 1895, in San Marcos, Texas, a team of well-drillers were attempting to construct an artesian well for a fish hatchery. They sank a 190-foot shaft to reach an underground stream called Purgatory Creek. With the water that came from the well also came one of the strangest creatures in the world. Living deep in the pitch-black recesses of the earth was a weird salamander, the likes of which had never been seen before. This strange salamander is called Rathbuni’s salamander. It is also called the Texas blind salamander because it is found only in Hays County, Texas, and it is so rare it’s on the endangered species list.
Rathbuni’s salamander has no eyes. In fact, it has almost no head. Its pale, translucent body is grotesquely slender and tapers at the head to a blunt, spoon-like snout. Sticking out like scarlet antlers just behind its head are bright red external gills for breathing. It has four toes on the front feet, and five on hind feet. Its skinny legs are abnormally long, enabling it to stand tall and better sense movements made by tiny swimming organisms that make up its diet.
The amount of available food in Purgatory Creek is incredibly sparse, just a few tiny invertebrates, crustaceans, and snails. In fact, scientists are amazed that anything can exist in such a food-poor environment. Perhaps the fact that Rathbuni’s salamander has a much more highly developed lateral-line organ than most other water-dwelling creatures helps it to survive. The lateral line is a series of special movement sensors that runs along the sides of water-dwelling creatures. (This is the organ that enables a school of fish to swim in such well-synchronized movements.) The more sensitive the lateral-line sensors, the easier it is for the creature to detect movement in the surrounding water.
Can you imagine living your entire life in the frigid water of a dark subterranean cave, oblivious that there was a bright world above teeming with life? Likewise, many people living in our dark world are spiritually blind, totally unaware that there is a better, brighter, more beautiful world above. When God warned the Israelites against disobeying His law, He said, “And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways … ” (Deuteronomy 28:29). When we choose to obey the Lord, we will walk in the light toward that amazing world above—heaven!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5