Keepers of the Springs

A little boy said to the girl next door, “I wonder what my Mother would like for Mother’s Day.” The girl answered, “Well, you could decide to keep your room clean and orderly. You could go to bed as soon as she calls you. You could brush your teeth without having to be told. You could quit fighting with your brothers and sisters, especially at the dinner table.” The boy looked at her and said, “Naah, I mean something practical.”

I like the Mother’s Day card that is written in a child’s hand. On the front is a little boy with untied sneakers. He is about 6 years old, and he has a wagon and toys are everywhere. He has a little cut on his face and there are smudges all over the card. It reads, “Mom, I remember that little prayer you used to say for me every day.” Inside is the prayer: “God help you if you ever do that again!”

Then there was the teenage boy who came bounding into the house only to find his Mom in bed. He was truly concerned and asked if she was sick or something. His Mom answered that, as a matter of fact, she wasn’t feeling very well. The son replied, “Well, don’t worry about dinner. I’ll be happy to carry you down to the stove.”

OK, I know it is tough being a Mom, and maybe humor like that is not exactly what you need. But since we are approaching that “special day” when we make an extra effort to celebrate motherhood, I wanted to start you thinking with a smile on your face!

Mothers are, to use Peter Marshall’s metaphor from a sermon long ago, “the keepers of the springs.” Marshall told the story of a small village that grew up at the foot of the mountain. Up in the hills a forest dweller decided that he would be the “keeper of the springs.” Everywhere he found a spring in the hills, he would remove the filth so the water would be clean, cold and pure, never stagnant. He performed his job with delight, and the city responded with their thanks and a monthly check. The keeper of the springs kept the water flowing, and it became a river of life to the town. Mill wheels turned by its rush and gardens were refreshed by its waters. The city council met to decide its budget one year when income was tight, and they decided the keeper of the springs would have to go. They fired him. The keeper of the springs no longer went to the springs to clean, and soon the filth began to accumulate. As a result, sickness found its way into many homes. Some even died. The city council met again and decided they had made a mistake and invited the keeper of the spring back into his position. And health and life were restored from the waters that flowed pure again. Peter Marshall said that it is the mother who is the modern-day keeper of the spring. Her ministry to the family, he said, keeps it glowing with health.

What does a mother look like? Here is just one example, and there are many, that come from God’s Word and are his ‘refrigerator art,’ if you will, pictures of what God thinks about moms.

In Psalm 128:3, the mother is pictured as a fruitful vine, and we are told that she is in the very heart of the house. The godly mother has a central place of responsibility in the home that, though she may not see it through diaper pails and dishpan hands, will bear fruit for generations to come. Nancy Wilson wrote in her book on motherhood, Praise Her in the Gates, “The mother is central to the picture of blessing and prosperity. Around the table are the olive shoots, an image of promise and growth and future prosperity. This psalm concludes with a blessing: ‘Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!’ A mother who fulfills her fruitful calling is a means God uses to bring blessing for her entire family, her husband, the church, and the community.”

Keeper of the springs. Fruitful vine. Shaper of the next generation. Beautiful wife and faithful co-laborer in the Gospel. Happy Mother’s Day and, thank you!

2 thoughts on “Keepers of the Springs

  1. A very nice tribute to mothers. Happy Mothers Day to your wife. I enjoyed my mother for over 90 years. Our boys have enjoyed their mother for quite a few years now. We are hoping to get together next Sunday to celebrate. Fortunately, both boys are working full time at this time. Our elder at LabCorp in Burlington, and our younger at the Catawba County Science Center in Hickory. Blessings! Ted

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