Ruby Falls is a 145-foot underground waterfall deep within a cave under Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In the 1920’s, Leo Lambert, A chemist with a penchant for caving, was originally intent on preserving a famous cave that many early Native Americans, Chattanoogans, and even a U.S. President (Andrew Jackson) had explored. However, the famous Ruby Falls cave was found quite by accident.
The original cave had, unfortunately, been sealed off when the Southern Railway laid new tracks as Chattanooga entered its heyday as a railroad town. To get around the blockage, Lambert, along with a mining company from Birmingham, Ala., drilled down from the top of the mountain to create an elevator shaft.
Quite by accident, they discovered a second cave that proved even more beautiful and popular than the first.
“It took an entire day to drive through five feet of solid limestone and they found the only crack in the whole thing,” says Jeanne Crawford, Lambert’s granddaughter. “If they had drilled either way, they would have missed it.”
In trying to find a creative solution to a complicated problem, Lambert ended up defining Chattanooga tourism and discovered one of the best natural wonders in the Southeast.
“My grandfather was a person who never stopped looking and learning. He never stopped singing his song,” Crawford says. “He used to say, ‘We travel through the valley, but if God gives you a vision, that is a glimpse of the reality God has planned for you. I think that’s how Leo felt when he discovered Ruby Falls.”
Lambert’s story is an example of what our story can be as we excavate scripture. As we “dig” deeper into the words, the stories, the meaning, we find such beautiful meaning that perhaps we miss if we stay on the literal surface.
The stories in Scripture are not ends in themselves. They point to something deeper, something beyond the image or the story. If allowed, they give us a road map to navigate our inner being and our relationship with The Divine.