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The Keeper of the Spring

By Russell McKinney

Mitchell CountyRussell McKinney Mitchell County


In a little hamlet, the town council held a meeting to discuss how to cut expenses. They studied the budget more seriously than ever and noticed an item that had previously escaped their attention. It was a small fee that was paid each month to someone called “The Keeper of the Spring.”

As the council members tried to figure out who “The Keeper of the Spring” was and why he was paid a fee each month, only one member could even offer a clue. He said, “I think there is an old man who lives near the top of the mountain, and he cleans out all the springs and creeks that flow down to the river that fills the reservoir that provides the town’s drinking water.”

The other council members didn’t dispute the answer, but they certainly didn’t see the need to keep paying the fee. One said, “We’ve never even seen this man.” Another said, “That’s right, so how can we be sure that he’s doing his job?” A third added, “If he was an old man, he might even be dead by now.” So, the council voted unanimously to stop paying “The Keeper of the Spring” and sent a letter of dismissal to the mountaintop address to which the fee had always been sent.

A few months later the town’s citizens began to notice that their drinking water wasn’t as clear and sparkling as it once was. No fuss was raised, though, because it wasn’t that big a deal. More months passed and they noticed that the water’s color was now different. Still, there didn’t seem to be any cause for alarm. Then more months passed and some of the citizens started getting sick. Finally, a full-fledged epidemic broke out and some of the citizens lost their lives.

Panic now ruled the streets, and the town council voted unanimously to have a team do a thorough investigation to discover the cause of the epidemic. You can guess how the report came back: a polluted, unsafe water supply. Obviously, the town council had failed to realize just how important “The Keeper of the Spring” was. Even though they hadn’t known it, he was the true secret to the town’s livelihood and happiness.

Going into this new year let me encourage you to realize that Jesus Christ is “The Keeper of the Spring” for you. As long as your relationship and fellowship with Him are right, there will be purity and vitality to your life and you will know the joy, comfort, and inner peace that are only found through Him. But if you foolishly choose to ignore Him and try to operate without Him, at some point you will have to deal with the costly fallout from your choice. Jesus doesn’t want that for you, and you wouldn’t want it for yourself if you had enough sense to know it. Therefore, let me encourage you to build your life around Jesus this year and let Him be “The Keeper of the Spring” for you. If you’ll do that, you can rest assured that He will keep the issues of your life flowing clear and pure.


Russell Mckinney lives in the English Woods area of Spruce Pine and serves as the pastor of Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville.

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