Rinse beans and add to large saucepan and cover with 6 cups water. Add garlic and thyme (just add them whole, they will be removed later). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and cook for 2 hours.
Remove pot from heat, stir in 1/2 Tablespoon salt and remove garlic and thyme.
Place 1/4 cup water and butter into medium saucepan and heat on medium until butter melts. Add celery and cook until tender.
Add celery mixture to bean mixture and reheat on med-low for 30 minutes.
Nutrition Info Per Serving: Calories 275.5 Total Fat 12.2 g Saturated Fat 7.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g Monounsaturated Fat 3.0 g Cholesterol 31.0 mg Sodium 1,312.6 mg Potassium 685.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 31.8 g Dietary Fiber 10.3 g Sugars 0.7 g Protein 11.9 g