Laodicea, I wish you were cold or hot!

July 6, 2010

This is the wording to the lukewarm church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14), one of the seven churches in the Roman province of Asia addressed in Rev. 2-3.  At first glance it would seem plausible to assign the meaning of fervent and zealous to “hot,” and “cold” would mean to just quit altogether.  However, a look at the setting and characteristics of the city may well be the basis for this statement of Jesus.

Laodicea, though a wealthy city, was known for its tepid, lukewarm water, which was brought in from the south of the city, five miles distant.

Laodicea. Water was piped in from the south. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

It doesn’t appear that it was too appetizing as you see the tendency of the pipes to clog, as illustrated in our photo. These are some sections of pipe excavated by archaeologists.

Laodicea Clogged Pipes. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The water distribution tower shows the poor quality of Laodicea’s water.

Clogged Pipe at Laodidea's Water Distribution Tower. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

But back to our point about the setting of Laodicea.  Nearby to the east Colossae was known for its cold refreshing water.  Cold can be a good thing!

Cold refreshing water at Colossae. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Just to the north and within sight of Laodicea is Hierapolis.  It was known for its hot thermal springs.  Hot is good!  Hot water has medicinal value; Hierapolis became a healing centers. The sign below was photographed there listing all sorts of benefits.  Roman emperors were among those who made the journey here.

Hieraoplis. Hot thermal springs have medicinal value. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Again, cold water is good and refreshing; hot water is good for healing, but lukewarm, what good is that?  The church had taken on the characteristic of the city, and had likewise become lukewarm. What Jesus wanted the church to do was not to become cold in the sense of quitting; he wanted them to “be zealous and repent,” to turn from their lukewarmness.

Study and see if you think this fits.  It is consistent with Jesus’ other references to Laodicea’s wool, wealth, and eye care and using these as the basis of His admonitions (Rev. 3:18).

Remember to click on image for larger view.


More on Laodicea

June 28, 2010

One interesting find at Laodicea in a large house just off Syria Street, was this filter connected to indoor plumbing.

Water Filter at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The right side and center is for water entering the building, while the left side is designed for water leaving the building. In another post we want to discuss further the water situation at Laodicea.

In our articles/photos posted on the Seven Churches of Rev. 2-3, we have repeatedly seen evidence of temples devoted to various pagan gods.  It is difficult to overstate how widespread and pervasive idolatry was in the biblical world, in both Old Testament as well as New Testament times.  At Laodicea one can see the remains of a temple, known as Temple A, located on the north side of the city.

Temple A. Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Of course, every city of significance had a theater.  Pictured here is the Hellenistic theater, located on the west side of the city.

Hellenistic Theater at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Click on image for larger view.  More to come.


Laodicea, cont’d.

June 26, 2010

In our previous post we saw a startling difference between the Laodiceans’ assessment of themselves, and the Lord’s evaluation.  They thought they were rich and in need of nothing; Jesus said that spiritually they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev.3:17).  They were blissfully unaware of their true condition before God! Further, their lukewarmness was a condition that nauseated the Lord.

That’s why we have the Bible. Therein is revealed how to be saved by the provisions of God in Jesus Christ, and then further teaching furnishes the Christian with what God wants His people to be.  In other words, to avoid the condemnation of the Lord, and to have His approval, requires constant looking at the Scriptures as the standard, and examining self in light of that Word.

But we want to explore further the city itself where the church addressed in Rev. 3 was located.

Besides the evidence of many public buildings and facilities, archaeologist have also excavated some private residences, such as the one in this photo. Note the storage jar at left center.

Private Residence at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Such storage jars would have been used in homes for storage of grain and other such items.  Such items are indicative of considerable purchasing power.

Storage Jar in Private Residence at Laodicea. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Still more to come on Laodicea.  Click on image for larger view.


Laodicea, the Church that Nauseated the Lord

June 25, 2010

Laodicea is the seventh of the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2-3. Laodicea was a biblical city of great importance: it was a wealthy banking center, it was known for its black raven wool and the manufacture of clothing; also it was known for its invention of eye salve.   Located in the Lycus River Valley, Laodicea was strategically situated on an east-west travel route.  Nearby Hierapolis was known for its medicinal hot springs; neighboring Colossae was known for its cold refreshing water.  Laodicea was noted for neither; its water was tepid, lukewarm and sickening. With these things in mind, consider Jesus’ assessment of the church, which had taken on the lukewarm characteristics of the wealthy city:

15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot! 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth! 17 Because you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 take my advice and buy gold from me refined by fire so you can become rich! Buy from me white clothing so you can be clothed and your shameful nakedness will not be exposed, and buy eye salve to put on your eyes so you can see! (Rev. 3:15-18, NET).

Since 2000, extensive excavation has been done at Laodicea, and continues through the present. Much of the work has been to reveal some of the major streets of the city, including the main street featured in our photo here. This street was called Syria Street.

Laodicea Syria Street. Main Street in City. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The scoring of pavement stones made by chariot wheels may be seen at some points in the street.

Grooves in Street Made by Chariot Wheels. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Syria Street as well as other streets would have been lined with shops on either side.  Our photo below depicts a mosaic at the entrance of an ancient shop.

Laodicea Mosaic at Shop Entrance. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

More to come on Laodicea.  Remember to click on photo for larger view.