Our Judeo-Christian heritage has an important tradition of places of safe refuge. The concept of cities of refuge was instituted in the nation of Israel by commands from God in the Old Testament book of Joshua.
Israel had divided Canaan into tribal territories. As God established this new society, He made provision for relief and refuge for those in need of protection.
If someone unintentionally harmed someone else without malice or premeditation, he could take refuge from anyone who wanted to avenge the accident. The principle was: If the outside world had become hostile, you could go to a city of refuge and be welcomed into safety. (Joshua 20)
Instruction was given to keep the 48 foot roads leading to the cities of refuge in good repair; all rivers were to be bridged; at every turn there were guideposts pointing to refuge.
The point is that people in trouble were to be given a safe haven where they could avoid the problems of the outside world. The tragic mistakes of the outside world couldn’t penetrate the gates of a city of refuge.
When designing Whitestone, I was conscious of the need for safe places of refuge. The entrance became very important as I thought about the concept of getting inside the sanctuary. Since drive-through barns are familiar sights in rural East Tennessee, we designed a big red barn as the main entrance to Whitestone. There are four suites in the barn. Jean and I lived in one for a year while we were building the Farmhouse.
Since our operational mission is to be “a sanctuary for the soul,” the entrance through the barn was designed to separate the guest from the outside world. Regardless of the pressures and stresses of today’s chaos, the barn stands as a symbol of separation into our village of refuge.
The current upheaval in the United States applies pressure and uncertainty at almost all levels. Whitestone provides a reasonably-priced escape to “a sanctuary for the soul” where clarity and rest can prepare you for the road ahead. As one gust expressed it: “When we drove through the barn, a feeling swept over us both that we had entered a world apart.”
Our grace-based hospitality will nurture you in our sanctuary and help you find some peace and rest from the world outside. We are just down the road, but a world apart!