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Keeper of the Spring

Keeper of the Spring

The late Peter Marshall was an eloquent speaker that served as the chaplain of the US Senate. He used to love to tell the story of the “Keeper of the Spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of water. The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. One evening the town council met for its semiannual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer.” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

For several weeks, nothing changed.

By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A few days later, the water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps.

The town’s people in the Austrian Alps wanted to cut expenses not knowing the true value of the Keeper of the Spring. They thought he was just an old man who lived on the mountain – not sure what he did – just something to do with the spring and the water supply. Little did they know that the Keeper kept their world clean, safe and beautiful. It was only after their spring became polluted and their paradise became a mess did they realize the value of the Keeper of the Spring.

THERE IS GOOD NEWS… The Holy Spirit is the Keeper of the Wellspring of our hearts – we may not be aware of His work but He is always there –leading us – guiding us – warning us – looking out for us – helping keep the debris and trash from corrupting our walk with God. We are reminded by the Proverb writer…”Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 Now that’s something to think about!

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