Berkeley Springs and healing

The Standard September 1, 2022

Last week my almost-90-year-old mother and I drove to northeastern West Virginia to visit my older brother in his new neck of the woods. We discovered the lovely small town of Berkeley Springs, often considered our country’s first spa. George Washington regularly visited the town, believing the water from the spring had healing power. Today there are open spring pools, a mineral spa, a historic Roman Bath House and a main street named after Washington, dotted with stores boasting any number of magical and mystical items. Berkeley Springs also is home to Cacapon Resort State Park. “Cacapon” is derived from the Shawnee Native American word meaning “medicine waters.”  

Throughout history various people have sought physical healing and extended lives, often through methods or things that could not live up to these hopes. A major part of the human condition is that our bodies are subject to deterioration. At some point, each of us finds ourselves in need of physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Certainly, water offers a plethora of health benefits. Clean drinking water is of utmost importance for human sustenance. Swimming or soaking in the ocean can help reduce inflammation and congestion, improve circulation and help with muscle pain or arthritis. Sea water is full of minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium that can promote healing. The rhythm of the ocean waves often provides a soothing effect and a visit to the seashore can improve our sleep and mental well-being.

The divine design as seen in nature truly is remarkable and God alone is the source of all physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Water in and of itself never will heal us. Over 2,000 years ago, crowds flocked to Jesus, at first because they saw him make people well, but eventually and more importantly because he told them about eternal, complete healing received merely by believing and trusting in his name.

“Going through Samaria, Jesus came to a town called Sychar and at about noon stopped at Jacob’s well. “When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?’ Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’  (John 4: 7-15) Jesus said to her, “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – I am he.’” (John 4:32-26)

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