Mission Trip Israel – The Spa

by Wes Bridel on May 6, 2009

in Israel

That evening we drove back to Tiberius at about 8pm.  We walked up to the Spa and the lights were on, the automatic doors open – so we walked in.  It was a big place and we walked down the entryway to the desk, but there was no one there.  There were maps of the facility on the counter, so after yelling for help, we began walking around yelling for whomever worked there.  After 20-30 minutes of this, we couldn’t find anyone and we made the decision to just start enjoying the place and to pay someone whenever we saw them.  All three of us had a creepy feeling about the place, but we were sweaty and wanting to clean up, and we pushed the foreboding thoughts aside and began to change.

When I had changed, Glenn was already getting out of the geothermal spring which he said was not hot enough and was in the sauna.  Kara joined us there and we all sat in there talking.  Glenn mentioned a time or two that it wasn’t hot enough for him, but I didn’t really notice why he left when he did as I was speaking to Kara.

The next part that happened, I see very differently after the fact than I did as it happened.  God was showing me things, but I wasn’t seeing with my spiritual eyes.  God was trying to give me understanding, but I was in “vacation mode” and was not fully aware of what He was showing me.

The sauna was a tiny little room – about 4 ft by 4 ft -with a bench with enough room for the three of us to sit and a box of coals in front to the right and a glass door directly in front of me.

I looked up and saw a man coming to the door who I didn’t know.  For a second, I thought, “Who is this?”  I quickly pushed that thought away, assuming someone else had come into the spa right after us.  When the man walked in, he was Glenn.

Strange that I could have mistaken him.

I looked down into his hand and he held a clear soda bottle filled with a liquid that glowed yellow to me.  This all happened very fast.  Something inside me was telling me that something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what.

As Glenn poured the liquid onto the coals to make the temperature hotter, I joked to him, “What are you doing, trying to kill us?”  Immediately fire went in all directions.  I remember fire going up in the fumes and fire spilling to the floor.  This must have made me jerk away in reaction because I can remember fire being up in the corner of the small room behind me.  The entire room was consumed with fire.

Before I go any further, I want to say that Glenn was not trying to hurt us.  It’s hard to even write about this because he is so hurt that he did this; he would do anything to undo it.  He had found the bottle right beside the water cooler and assumed that it was water.  We would later find out that this was an alcohol based cleaning solution in a soda bottle that had been left out.

My first reaction was to push Kara out of the door.  I then tried to grab her shoes and then realized that I was burning and got out myself.  To this day, Kara is mystified over who opened the door to let her out!  I came diving out yelling for everyone to stop, drop and roll and Glenn came out right behind me.

I remember looking up at the sauna, hearing the alarms, and seeing the water coming from the ceiling spraying down the fire.  I thought for a second that we were safe and then I looked down and saw that my foot was still on fire!

I yelled for us all to get up and jump in the pool.  We were in and then out and Glenn and Kara were running for the exit, alarms still blaring.  I ran and got our clothing from just outside of the sauna.  Walking was not fun because the skin was all burned off the bottoms of my feet, but we had to move.  I wanted to stay there and wait for an ambulance but the other two wanted to get to the hospital, so we went to the car.

Kara was the least burnt of the three of us, but she could not drive the stick shift  we had rented, so she stood there asking two guys who were each burnt 35-40% of their bodies which of us was going to drive.

I sucked it up and grabbed the keys and we began driving.  Of course, we had no idea where the hospital in Tiberius was, so we were driving down the main coastal road, yelling out to people on the street asking for directions.  The two older women we asked didn’t speak English.  We decided to go to the hotel we had stayed at the night before which was nearby.  As we pulled up a young man was walking by and he tried to tell us where it was.  We asked if he could please come with us and he agreed, so we asked if he could drive a stick.  He said yes, so we shuffled with me now in the passenger seat, Kara and Glenn in the back.

Turns out he couldn’t drive a stick.

We jerked all the way down the road to a clinic.  He ran inside for a doctor who came out, looked at us, and said we needed the hospital.  Once I no longer had the responsibility of driving, my body went into shock.  I was shivering uncontrollably and breathing heavy…basically now totally incapacitated.

Continued tomorrow….

Photo credit: Jim-AR

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