With joy I wish the happiest of days to my wonderful mother who also has become my best friend and mentor. She has been and continues to be my most valued source of inspiration aside from the Lord. The following is dedicated to her.
Some time ago I heard this story of the keeper of the springs. I’m not sure where the allegorical narrative originated but I love it. It could, I suppose, represent many different ideas but the one to which it has been ascribed in my mind is that of the role of a mother in the lives of her children.
The Keeper of the Springs
Once upon a time, there was a town nestled at the foot of a mountain range where it was sheltered from wind and storms. High up in the hills above the little village, a quiet forest dweller took it upon himself to be the Keeper of the Springs. He patrolled the hills and wherever he found a spring he cleaned its brown pool of silt and fallen leaves of mud and mold and took away from the spring all foreign matter, so that the water which bubbled up through the sand ran down clean and cold and pure. The City Council, however, was a group of hard-headed, hard boiled business men. They scanned the civic budget and found in it, the salary of the Keeper of the Springs. Said the Keeper of the Purse, “Why should we pay this romance ranger? We never see him; he is not necessary to our town‘s work life. If we build a reservoir just above the town, we can dispense with his services and save his salary.” Therefore, the City Council voted to dispense with the unnecessary cost of the Keeper of the Springs, and to build a cement reservoir. So the Keeper of the Springs no longer visited the brown pools but watched from the heights while they built the reservoir. When it was finished it soon filled up with water to be sure, but the water did not seem to be the same. It did not seem to be as clean, and a green scum soon befouled its stagnant surface. There were constant troubles with the delicate machinery of the mills, for it was often clogged with slime, and the swans found another home above the town. At last, an epidemic raged, and the clammy, yellow fingers of sickness reached every home in every street and lane. The City Council met again. Sorrowfully, it faced the city‘s plight, and frankly it acknowledged the mistake of the dismissal of the Keeper of the Springs. They sought him out high in the hills, and begged him to return to his former joyous labor. Gladly he agreed and began once more to make his rounds. It was not long until pure water came lilting down under tunnels of ferns and mosses and to sparkle in the cleansed reservoir. Upon my re-hearing this story on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast a while back, I was inspired to capture it in poetic form. In fact, my mother and I worked together on parts of it. For some time it lay dormant with occasional effort on my part to finish it. Today I present it to my mother as a token of my deep appreciation for the devotion with which she has mothered and mentored me.
The Keeper of the Springs
By Rachel Hunt, lovingly dedicated to my mother, Priscilla Geralene Hunt on her birthday, August 7, 2007.
You have been chosen, O fair maiden of the King
Selected by His Majesty to be a keeper of the spring
No other one so aptly could do this special thing
Keeping watch so vigil to ensure the purest stream
Day and night you’ll labor to keep its constant flow
Clean and clear and full of life, deterred by ne’er a foe
A little blockage here or there, that oft’ might tempt to hinder
Cannot escape your watchful eye, your hands that ceaseless labor
Immediately you start to work, your task cannot be hindered
Others’ lives are in your hands you constantly remember
The smallest of impurities could render slow but certain death
If not for the Keeper who watches close, any harmful thing to arrest
The health of all who are refreshed by the charge within your care
Depends upon your faithfulness – whether you are always there
Keeping watch – seen or not – unnoticed or applauded
The work you do relentlessly must e’er be kept unthwarted
The highest praise that can be given to one of your description
Would surely be upon the lips of all, your title fondly mentioned
Credit to a work so great must definitely be rendered
This job of such significance must never be surrendered
Yet some would fain to undermine your worth and ardent valor
The keeper of the purse declares your funds more elsewhere matter
Society is moving up they say, we’ve bigger, better things
The budget is shifted as a better way is sought, to utilize the springs
And so you watched with broken heart as bigger better things
Sought to replace the work you’d done that once made your heart sing
And for a while you wondered if maybe you’d been blind
To new and improved means by which clean water could be found
Until the day that told the truth of what advancement proved
Efficiency abundant now but quality far removed
Sludge and slime now filled the stream, no one to guard its health
Sickness raged in every home, threatening a greater kind of wealth
Something must be done with the town in disarray
The council met again, the keeper of the purse dismayed
Perhaps his dismissal of the lowly keeper played some key integral part
‘T was true that he had never taken the keeper’s importance to heart
Could it be the tender care that to the spring was given
Was reason for the flowing stream that once made the town seem like heaven?
Quickly and firmly the conclusion was drawn, the keeper’s job reinstated
And the townsfolk watched in anticipation and with bated breath they waited
The transformation they knew would come with the keeper at watch once again
Did slowly but surely make its appearance and with determination began
To produce in the fields and countryside a vivid and deep virescence
Life springing forth with beauty so rare, colors of radiant brilliance
And so time did tell the secrets of producing the purest stream
Frothy fountains, babbling brooks, ribbons of glass that gleam
Nurturing flora, harboring fauna ‘long side the grassy shore
Yes – streams that offer so much more than water in a reservoir
For you see, the end result cannot be simply measured
By more efficient means through which a budget isn’t squandered
In the broader grander scheme of things, quality is prime
And budget there isn’t which renders excellence, not affording time
Time well spent on the little things that matter most in the end
Little things that if not tended yield matters hard to mend
And so it was found in that little town that what made folks hearts to sing
Was because of the humble yet vital role of the keeper of the spring
About my mother
My mother’s life as a keeper of the spring might also be visually represented as a water wheel. I chose a wheel because all that she loves and deems important are like spokes projecting from a central point. That central core of her very being is God. She seeks to view all aspects of life from His perspective. Just as a water wheel is constantly retrieving water and re-depositing it elsewhere, so my mother seeks to pass on truths that she has found to others. Some of the main spokes of her wheel centered around God are these:
If my mother should have lived in any one Biblical location I think it would have been Berea for she fits well the description of searching the scriptures to confirm what is true and excellent. Because of this she has become very knowledgeable in the scriptures and possesses a deep desire to live life in accordance with God’s principles.
One of my favorite things as a child was for my mother to ask my brothers and me Bible questions as we went to bed at night. Many times we would fall asleep to the sound of her voice as she would be asking questions like, “Rachel, who was the queen who saved her people?”, “Andrew, who did God cause to be swallowed by a great fish?” or “Daniel, who was the boy who killed a giant?”. My mother (and father) did not depend on someone else to infuse us with the stories of the Bible we grew up learning to love. We were read, told, questioned about and given dramatized Bible stories on audio. Those things remain with us to this day. God’s Word is the basis for her every action and decision. She has made it a priority to know the Word of God and what it has to say about life. As a result, she is most well versed in the Scriptures and is skilful in the Word. When I think of my mother the most salient characteristic she possesses is that of ultimate devotion to God.
My mother possesses an innate desire to learn about what is important in life. She is always reading. Her favorite topics are the Bible, family, health, Christian living, and biographies of great Christians. My childhood was filled with trips to the library followed by stacks of books checked out to return home with us. Reading began on the drive home. With both my parents being bookworms we have collected quite a library. I have inherited their love for good books and have my own library in progress! With bookshelves at a premium at our house I am learning that the public library is a great thing and not everything has to be bought. There’s nothing I love better than stumbling across a great read and inducting it into my personal collection, though!
A priority of my mother’s has been to learn all she could about the best way to train, nurture, and teach children. No sacrifice was too great for the sake of her most prized possessions on earth. Although she could have pursued a teaching career with her degree in Elementary Education she chose to devote her life to home schooling my brothers and me. Our lives are forever marked by her incredible patience and love. While academics were important to her, infusing us with a passion for doing things God’s way and the knowledge that His ways were always best was her main goal. She took seriously her role as a mother and did it with all of her might. Because she sought to teach me the right way to live, the wrong ways became obvious by default and ungodliness seemed strange and wrong. She was not content with mediocrity and “fitting in” was not her goal. Her motto was that anyone can do what everyone else is doing but when God’s Word directs otherwise it takes a strong person with confidence in God to stand alone. Excellence was the bar and God’s Word the standard. She definitely took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference.
My mother recognized the importance of understanding what produces optimum health and made it a priority to learn all she could about it. To this day she is a perpetual learner in this area, constantly seeking to improve quality of life. She knows that it is important to be in good health so that the best possible service to the Lord can be rendered. From a young age we have all been educated to a degree in this area, from whence comes this story. J One of my brothers and my favorite pastimes was “playing church”. We did it with just the three of us as well as with childhood friends who visited our home. Naturally, my brothers did the preaching and sometimes came up with the most interesting topics! The most laughed about one would be that of them preaching about how bad ice cream is for you! I chuckle now just thinking about it. J Today, I love discovering ways to prepare healthy delicious meals for our family and friends who visit. And by the way, I have found a healthy way to make ice cream!
Whether vacationing or attending church conferences – my mother’s middle name is go! She loves to see the beautiful world God created and revel in the glory of God’s handiwork. Attending church meetings is definitely a love of hers. She is constantly taking notes and gleaning all she can from the speakers’ words. One place she has not been but has a deep desire to visit is the Holy Land. I can only imagine her delight in seeing the places she has read and learned about in the Bible.
All of these loves have now become mine. She continues to point me to God and His Word as the basis for my life decisions. The most valuable thing I have learned from my mother is this: I can trust God because His ways are always best. May my life reflect the passion with which she has served Her Maker.