|1. In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, combine the carrots, celery, onion, barley, beans, broth, thyme, 2 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.
2. Arrange the chicken into the vegetable mixture and cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily and the barley and beans are tender, 5 to 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high.
3. Remove and discard any chicken bones and any large pieces of cartilage. Cut the chicken into large pieces. Spoon into bowls and top with additional pepper and thyme, if desired.