Today, I headed down to the spa area of the Greenbrier for a treatment to help the sore muscles in my back; from all the driving I have done the past four or five days. I decided on the signature spa service that includes a soak in a sulphur bath, a massage and several other services that include a forceful shower, a steam room and what is called a scotch spray. By the way, the sulphur soak is what made this place famous more than 200 years ago.
When people were either ill or wanted to escape the insects and disease of the summers in the Deep South, they headed to West Virginia to “partake of the waters.” In fact, depending on what ailment you had, your doctor probably prescribed a specific order that you had to experience the many different sulphur waters in the area – red, blue, yellow and of course, the famous white sulphur springs that became the name of this town where the Greenbrier is located. Soaking in the water relieved aching muscles and families visiting the area were encouraged to also drink 8-10 glasses of sulphur water a day. Now depending on the time of year, and the water table, the smell of the water could be quite strong – and sometimes it still is. I can’t even fathom the idea of drinking 10 glasses a day, though. And in the spa, there are aromatic oils that can be added to the water to minimize the odor while you soak – thank God….
Anyway, I am a believer in the waters. No – I don’t drink them, but I sure do feel better after a hot soak. And that can make a world of difference to a guy with a sore back. But after the soak, to aid in the release of stiff muscles, the next part of the treatment has become legendary in our family. In fact, if our two daughters Kristin and Jill are reading this post, they are probably just about physically ill thinking about it.
Because years ago, when we were first here as a family, the girls decided that that they wanted the whole spa treatment experience. And to hear them tell it, after the soak, they were paraded into a multi-headed shower stall where they were told to stand, au natural, if you know what I mean, while they were blasted with water from every angle. Then, according to them, some matronly former prison guard made them stand at attention while she shot them with a fire hose of hot sulphur water under tremendous pressure – literally from a fire nozzle. To hear them tell it, they were knocked off their feet, ending up in the fetal position in a corner of the tile floor while they were being drowned with thousands of gallons of smelly hot water. And according to them, it was hard to protect all the places that needed to be protected from the unrelenting stream of water that was being directed at them. However, I think the story has grown a little over the years….
Now I am sure that they could take this routine on the road and make a fortune. Every time they recount the “scotch spray” portion of the story, we all laugh hysterically. Because if you know our girls, even though they are very extroverted, they are rather modest. And modest is not necessarily consistent with the scotch spray experience. So suffice it to say that for the past 15 years, nobody in our family has dared to try it – until I gave it a go last year. And to be perfectly honest, I enjoyed it. It was probably made more fun by the fact the both girls begged me not to do it – I think they were afraid that I would be psychologically scarred for life.
Today I returned for an encore – and Jackie, a kindly old gentleman, was on the nozzle. I laughed out loud as I was being sprayed – remembering the events the girls described 15 years ago. I must have looked like some kind of idiot – holding on for dear life in a shower stall while some 75 year old attendant sprayed me with a wall of water from a fire hose nozzle – laughing the whole time. But it was worth it – I swear it was. And it was much more forceful that when I did it a year ago – I really did hold on to the vertical bars on the wall to keep from being knocked over.
Of course, I told Jackie the family story, and he then told me how many men are afraid of the scotch spray. I thought he was kidding, but he was dead serious. He said many guys just won’t put themselves in a compromising position, if you know what I mean. And many of them, seeing the warm-up demonstration, shake their heads and walk away. The girls were vindicated on the spot.
Anyway, the thing I was thinking about during the spray was the fact that there was no way to get away from the water, because Jackie followed me with the nozzle wherever I turned and I couldn’t ignore it – it was far too powerful. It felt great – but I was a little bit apprehensive at the same time.
And that’s the way it should be with our relationship with God. God pursues us whichever way we turn; and His Word is too powerful to ignore. A relationship with God can feel great – but sometimes it’s a little scary or apprehensive at the same time. The verse tonight is from Col 1:28-29, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” In other words, as Christians, Christ is in us, and His energy is always working in us – never stopping. He follows us and pursues us – not allowing us to get away.
My encouragement this evening is to affirm that God will never stop pursuing you. Period. And my prayer is that you will never have enough of Him – that you will be open to His teaching and constant desire to give you more – kind of like being sprayed with a fire hose……..