Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,”
-Psalm 24, 3, 4
“He will easily be at peace and rest, whose conscience is pure.”
- Thomas a Kempis
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Scottish born preacher, Dr. Peter Marshall, was the U.S. Senate Chaplain for two years before his tragic death in 1949.Dr. Marshall was renowned for his sermons and use of touching illustrations. One of his best known illustrations was The Keeper of the Spring, which I will retell in my own words here. (You can read Chuck Swindoll’s version in the Tardy Ox Cart, Word Publishing)
High above an Austrian village, on the eastern slopes of the Alps, lived the Keeper of the Spring. Many years before the old man had been hired by the villagers to tend to the pools of clear mountain water that fed the streams that gushed into the village below.
Daily, the diligent keeper would inspect the pools of water and small streams for debris, leaves, fallen branches and loosened rocks or any foreign objects – no matter how small – that would impede or pollute the flow of ice cold water.
The Keeper’s conscientious attention to detail blessed the villagers with an abundant flow of pure water that allowed them to care for their families, ran the various mills that employed the town’s people and attracted tourists.
One evening, at an all-town budget meeting, one of the leaders noted the salary being paid to the Keeper. Who was this man anyways? Had anyone seen him in years? How did they know he was really doing his job? Was this an unnecessary expense?
Without much fanfare, the townspeople cast a unanimous vote to fire the Keeper of the Spring, who packed up the next day and left his small home in the Alps.
Within a week or two, the villagers noted specks in their once crystal clear water. Then larger bits of leaves and sticks began arriving with their water. Suddenly,the pure and abundant icy water they were accustomed to slowed to a cloudy trickle.
Within days, children began to complain of feeling sick, tourists found new vacation spots and the village leaders realized they had made a huge mistake.
It was not long before the Keeper of the Spring was back at his job in the Austrian Alps.
It is impossible to be pure in heart without recognizing the constant need to attend to those things that pollute our hearts.
In his Psalm of confession, David admitted his sins to God, then cried out , “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” David knew purity required confession.
Over the years, as our grandchildren mature in their faith, let’s pray that they will understand and embrace the value of confession as a way to a pure heart. Let’s pray that
- Our grandchildren will accept responsibility and be willing to confess their sins
- Our grandchildren will embrace confession as an important Christian discipline
- Our grandchildren will have a desire to be pure in heart
- Our grandchildren will be the keepers of the springs of their hearts
Help us to not take your love and forgiveness for granted. May we be diligent in guarding our hearts and coming to you for forgiveness and cleansing. We want to be pure, Lord.
May we be honest before our grandchildren about our own need for forgiveness without being self-condemning or heavy handed. May we show them that you “wash us whiter than snow.”
May our grandchildren keep their hearts pure so that someday they will see the One who gave His life to cleanse and purify us.
Note: Below is another ABC list that you might find helpful in your own time of confession. There are many more things we might be able to add to the list, but this just provides a framework for a planned time of confession.
And, remember, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Excessive Need for Control
Idolatry (loving anything more than God)
Keeping things that don’t belong to us
Neglecting the Poor