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What is the Third River?

We’re often asked, “what is the story behind the third river?”

The story is based on a modern-day parable as told by Craig Hill, in his book called Living on the Third River. It tells the story of three farmers, and it goes something like this …

There were once three farmers who lived on three different rivers…The rivers were all fed by the same massive snowfield in the mountains. The snowfield created an unlimited supply of water that flowed into a huge reservoir. A kindly old man spent his days deciding how much water each river would get.

The first farmer believed there was never enough water to meet his needs, so he dammed up the river. But even though he conserved and hoarded the water behind the dam, there was still never enough water to meet his needs, and his farm eventually became barren and dry. (scarcity)

The second farmer believed there was usually enough water to meet his own needs, but even as more and more water flowed down this river he always found ways to use it all up for himself and never really thought of sharing the water with others around him … and very little water flowed downstream to others that might need it. (greed & complacency)

The third farmer knew the Source of the water and understood that there was an unlimited supply.

Not only did he have enough water to meet his own needs, but he actively built channels inland and shared the water with other farmers around him, and he also taught them that the supply was unlimited. And no matter how many channels he built each year, there was still plenty of water that flowed downstream to others who needed it. (abundance)

These farmers learned from him, and in turn, shared the water with other farmers around them. And all the farms around the third river flourished and thrived.

Which river do you want to live on?

This story inspired us to name our company Third River Marketing, and it provides a wonderful framework to strive for as we live, work, and play in the community that we call Salem.


In his parable, Craig Hill is using the rivers and water as an analogy for money and finances. We believe it can also represent your time, talents, and treasures … all things that are important to you.

When we truly learn to understand the Source of the water and how to share His resources with those around us, then He will send an unlimited supply of what we need down our river and we and those around us will flourish and thrive.

Please share this story with a friend.

Adapted from the book “Living on the Third River”, by Craig Hill. Pick up a copy today!

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WhirLocal Salem

222 Commercial Street NE, PMB 2303

Salem, OR 97304

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