Tuesday, June 06, 2006


14. "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15. `I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
16. `So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
17. `Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
18. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
19. `Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.
20. `Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.
21. `He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
22. `He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' "

Revelation 3:14-22

When I was in Turkey last week one of the places I visited was the spring of Parmukkale,
This was probably one of the most interesting places that I've ever seen. There is a hot spring there, right outside the ancient Roman city of Hierapolis. It was a famous place in ancient times because the water has a high mineral content that was thought to have healing properties and was used as an antidote for various poisons and parasites. Indeed, the city of Hierapolis used the springs as its main source of income. People would come and pay to bath in the pools and drink the water. Because so many people came to be healed the city's ruins are dominated by a vast necropolis of tombs and sarcophagi. You had to pay for your funeral in advance if you came for healing and the payment was not refunded if you didn't die. It is easy to see that death was a very lucrative industry in Roman times.

As the spring cascades over the cliffs to the valley below the water begins to cool. At the top of the mountain it is 127 degrees Fahrenheit of about 51 degrees Celsius. By the time it reaches the valley it is cool mineral spring that can be used for drinking or even in swimming pools. As the water cools it is able to carry less minerals and the calcium carbonate percipitates out. Over 1000's of years the rocks have aquired a think and beautiful coating of cystalized calcium carbonate. The rocks are a snowy white that looks like ice.

Another interesting bit of trivia about this spring is that while the hot spring was used for medicinal purposes and the water at the bottom of hill for drinking, the water half way down is not used for anything. It still had too much salt in it for drinking but not enough for medicinal purposes and was bitter. It is also luke warm. Fun to wade about in but that's about it.

It was probably this spring, that Jesus is referencing in this passage because Parmukkale is only a few kilometers from Laodicea and the two cities would have been familiar to each other. I'd never understood this passage until last week. Jesus is saying that we should be good for either healing or refreshment. Not simply good for soaking or wading.

I don't think I'd ever understood this pasage before.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Historical Theology Blogger

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