Modern media was just coming of age; and a fledging station known as Cable News Network (or CNN) took up residence along with other national news outlets to cover the story of her rescue. A virtual media circus ensued over the next fifty eight hours until, using what was then the new technology of water jet cutting, authorities were eventually able to rescue “Baby Jessica”.
When she was finally rescued, the photograph taken of her being lifted from the well won a Pulitzer Prize and graced the cover of virtually every newspaper and news magazine in America. Years later, the whole ordeal was made into a movie.
At the time, along with my wife and me, most all of America was riveted by this unfolding live drama – so much so that then President Ronald Reagan stated that "everybody in America became godmothers and godfathers of Jessica while this was going on."
In the aftermath, Baby Jessica had to undergo fifteen or so surgeries. She still lost a toe due to gangrene. (Her leg had been pinned upside down against her body; and she had no circulation in it for the whole fifty eight hours.) But other than this and a scar on her forehead, she came through the trial remarkably unscathed.
Afterwards, donations poured in; and little Jessica herself was given a trust fund that matured when she turned twenty five – then equal to about $800,000. She used the money to buy a house and to pay for a college education for her own two children. To this day, she lives a quiet, happy life with her husband and two children.
The one thing she does do, however, is to make certain that others know how appreciative she is for having rescued her. In an interview twenty years after the ordeal, she told Matt Lauer on national television: “All I can say is thank you. There are really no words to describe how thankful I really, honestly am.”
I share this today because this past Sunday was “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday” across America. Tens of thousands of churches and millions of Christians celebrated the blessing that is human life.
For my part, I am glad that all of America was once galvanized to save the life of one precious little girl named Baby Jessica. And I long for the day when we are all once again galvanized to save the life of every single person, including both the born and the unborn.
The Bible teaches us that we are all created in the image of Almighty God. And Jesus Christ, God's Son, gave His life for each and every one of us. Surely, therefore, we should value all that God Himself values. Surely we should love all those whom God Himself loves.
Besides, only eternity will tell how thankful those who were saved truly are. And only then will we know how much every single human life really mattered.
NOTE: Matt Lauer’s interview with Jessica McClure Morales can be found on www.YouTube.com.
Also, check out the "Baby Jessica Rescue Page" at: http://www.caver.net/j/jrescue.html.