There aren’t too many places in the world that, legally, have been deeded to God.
Artesian springs located in the woods of rural South Carolina – said to have been noted for centuries for healing properties – counts itself as one of those few locales.
God’s Acre Healing Springs, located in Blackville, a rural community in Barnwell County, SC, was a sacred site for local Indians before white settlers moved into the area in the 18th century.
It is said to have gotten its name during the American Revolution. In 1781, after a bloody battle at nearby Windy Hill Creek, four gravely wounded Tories were sent inland from Charleston by General Banastre Tarleton in the care of two comrades, who had orders to bury them when they died.
Native Americans found the six and took them to the springs. Six months later the Charleston garrison, where the British forces were based, was astonished by the reappearance of the half-dozen men. All were strong and healthy.
Ownership of the springs passed from Indian tribes to an Indian trader named Nathaniel Walker. The site was eventually acquired by L.P. Boylston. On July 21, 1944, Boylston deeded the land and springs to “God Almighty,” both officially and through informational signs he posted in the nearby area.
Instead of allowing the water to simply seep from the ground, Barnwell County installed nearly a dozen taps about a foot high, with water flowing constantly. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control tests the water regularly and has said it contains no coliform bacteria. The agency has given the springs its highest rating.
People today, as in the past, believe the waters that flow from springs truly have healing properties.
Individuals come from Charleston, Columbia and even as far away as Atlanta to fill whatever they can find, including five-gallon water bottles, gallon milk jugs and 2-liter bottles.
Over this past weekend, I saw a pair of sisters pour out a case of newly bought purified water in front of the springs and refill the empty one-liter bottles with Healing Springs water.
There are usually never more than two or three other people at the Healing Springs at a time, and even filling a five-gallon jug doesn’t take long given the steady stream of water that flows from the taps.
On more than one occasion I’ve spoken with folks who have attributed their recovery from life-threatening conditions, including cancer, to the Healing Springs’ water they’ve imbibed over the years.
And whether one believes in the healing qualities of God’s Acre Healing Springs or not, there’s no question that the water that flows forth 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year is cold, refreshing and well worth the drive.