I heard this story from a pastor in my church quite a while back. There is quite a nice touch to the story and it is very real, at least to me.
Keeper of the Springs
There is a lake in the middle of some highlands, as with all sources of clean water, a town was gradually built around it. The town's people enjoyed the clear water and enjoyed the activities that they can do around the prestine lake. Many people heard about the town and its beautiful lake and travelled there for the experience.
The mayor of the town wanted the lake to remain clean, so that the town would thrive. With his council, he hiked up the many tributaries to the source of the water, a spring high up in the highlands. There he found a little hut and a man living in it, he hired the man to make sure that the spring is clean and that no one would pollute it. Everyday from then, the man walked up and down the spring clearing all the river buildups and also other rubbish that people have left behind. His actions prevented the water from being contaminated and the lake became cleaner than before. The town flourished and hotels and other tourist actractions are built around this beautiful lake for people to enjoy its water and all it has to offer.
After some years, the mayor has finished his term. The new mayor wanted to increase profit and decrease expenditure of the town, thus he reviewed the budget. There he noticed something weird, something he had never seen before, the town was paying a high salary to a "keeper of the springs". The mayor asked his council what and who is this, but as the council has also been changed over the years, no one knows. Therefore, the mayor decided to remove this cost, he fired the "keeper of the springs". For the first year, everything was alright, tourism continued to flourish, but the waters were not as clear. After the second year, the waters were murky and carried a raw pungent odor. The town lost money quickly, tourism stopped, the hotels were unoccupied.
After pondering for some time, he asked the locals what happened. They told him of the "keeper of the springs". So there and then, he climbed the highlands to the springs, the man was still living there. The mayor apologised for the great diservice he had done to the man, and offered to double his salary. The man took back his job but at the same salary and the waters were clear again.
Mud and Clay can build up in our lives even without external rubbish. What we need is the continued refreshing brought by allowing the "keeper of the springs" to clean up. However, it is not free either, we have to give him our time.