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The Parable of the Spring-Keeper

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Once upon a time, a small village lay nestled beneath a majestic mountain range. The protective embrace of the towering peaks shielded it from the biting winds that battered doors and hurled icy pellets against window panes. Far up in the serene woodland, a mysterious and quiet man lived, fulfilling the role of a Spring-Keeper. He roamed the hills diligently, tending to each spring of water that he discovered. With care and devotion, he purified the brown pools and removed the sediment, fallen leaves, and mud. He meticulously removed any foreign substances, ensuring that the water gushed forth crystal-clear, cold, and untainted. It joyfully flowed over the rocks, dancing in vibrant cascades until – joined by other streams – it transformed into a lively river that bestowed life upon the little town in the valley below. Millwheels spun under its vigorous rush, gardens were invigorated by its nourishing touch, and fountains tossed droplets of water into the air like glistening diamonds. Graceful swans gracefully glided upon its surface, while children frolicked on its sun-kissed banks, their laughter resonating through the air.

Sadly, however, the City Council was a group of pragmatic, hardened businessmen. They scrutinized the town’s budget, and they fixed their eyes on a line that detailed the salary of the Spring-Keeper. The Money-Keeper vociferously questioned, “Why should we allocate funds to this enigmatic guardian of reverie? He remains invisible, and he has nothing to do with the toils of our town’s daily affairs. If we construct a reservoir just beyond the edge of town, we can eliminate his services and his salary.” Consequently, the City Council collectively decided to discard the apparently superfluous expense of the Spring-Keeper and commence the construction of a concrete reservoir.

And so it happened that the Spring-Keeper no longer graced the brown and mucky pools with his presence. Instead, he observed from the lofty heights as they townspeople built their reservoir. It swiftly filled with water, but the water seemed different; it was devoid of its former purity. A green film tainted its stagnant surface. The delicate machinery of the mills suffered from many malfunctions, being frequently clogged with foul slime. The swans sought refuge elsewhere, abandoning their home above the town. Eventually, an epidemic erupted, spreading its clammy tendrils into every family, every street, and every alley.

Summoned by necessity, the City Council convened once more, being burdened by the city’s plight. With sorrow etched upon their faces, they acknowledged the grievous error of dismissing the Spring-Keeper. They went and visited him, high in his hermitage nestled amidst the hills, and begged him to return to his former labor of love. With a heart brimming with contentment, he agreed and began to recommence his rounds. Soon, the sweet, clear waters flowed down the valley once more, murmuring beneath verdant tunnels of ferns and moss, and sparkling as they cascaded down the mountainsides. The millwheels turned freely once more. The foul odors dissipated, sickness waned, and convalescent children resumed their playful laughter, for the swans returned to grace their world once again.



Permit me to indulge in poetic contemplation when I think of our nation’s women, particularly our mothers, as Spring-Keepers. Although it is a figurative phrase, it resonates with truth and eloquence. We perceive its warmth and its gentle influence; and despite our occasional forgetfulness and unwarranted complacency regarding life’s precious gifts, we are cognizant of wistful memories surging forth from the past – those tender, poignant fragrances of love. No words, no matter how articulate or profound, can adequately capture the depth of emotion we hold for our mothers. Hence I offer my tribute as a plea for more Spring-Keepers, whose faithful souls are committed to their sacred duty.

There has never been a time more critical for the presence of Spring-Keepers, nor a time when the springs themselves have become so polluted. The fate of our country hangs in the balance if the sanctuary of our homes crumbles. The disintegration of the home and its influence will inevitably signal the decline of our nation. If our Spring-Keepers abandon their posts or neglect their responsibilities, the future of this land appears bleak indeed. In this generation, we desperately need courageous Spring-Keepers who will fearlessly purify the tainted waters. It is not a task for the faint-hearted, nor is it a path that is widely applauded. However, it must be undertaken for the sake of our sons and daughters, and it is the duty of today’s mothers to embrace it wholeheartedly.

I firmly believe that women fulfill their Divine calling most profoundly within the sanctuary of their home (Titus 2:3-5; 1 Timothy 5:14; Proverbs 7:10-11). To be a virtuous wife is a far nobler achievement than to be Miss America. To establish a Christian home is a triumph far greater than writing second-rate novels tainted with filth. The world has an abundance of women who know how to be clever; it needs women who embody simplicity. Brilliance is commonplace, but bravery is rare. Popularity is sought after, but purity is undervalued. We need women – and men, too – who are willing to prioritize being Biblically right over conforming to societal norms.

The foregoing paragraphs were adapted from the timeless wisdom found in “Keepers of the Springs,” penned by Peter Marshall (1902-1949), a Scottish-born American preacher who held the position of Chaplain of the United States Senate on two occasions. The article was published by Chapel Library in Issue #229 of their free quarterly publication, the Free Grace Broadcaster. If you wish to learn more about the profound ministry of Chapel Library, I encourage you to visit their website here. 

All for our King’s glory, 

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