Turkey Study Trip


We started the day early with a balloon ride. We enjoyed the beautiful sunrise, a great view of the landscape, and a preview of Hierapolis, one of the sites for today.

After breakfast we headed out to see Laodicea. On the bus Dr Randy filled us in on the hot thermal springs and cold water availability from snow on the mountains or the springs of Collosea. Laodicea had calcified water that clogged their terra cotta pipes. It also can cause vomiting. We saw landscape covered with calcium deposits shining white in the sun.

After an earthquake in 17 AD, Tiberius sent money to rebuild. Later, Laodicea was rejected in their application for building a temple, while Smyrna was accepted. After the rejection, like people do, they over-compensated and became brash and over confident. Then more earthquakes came, and a tsunami. When Nero offered money to rebuild, they rejected it and rebuilt by themselves.

Two letters to churches had encouragement, Smyrna and Philadelphia. Five letters had instruction for change. For Laodicea, there was no praise or commendation.

Jesus is telling them He is there for them, they can rely on Him. Hot means boiling, like the hot springs in Hieropylis. Cold means refreshing, like the streams in Colossea. The Laodiceans are neither. A church is successful not when it’s bigger, but when the people properly reflect Christ.

The site has seen a tremendous amount of archeological work and restoration in the past 20 years. Syria Street is from the time John’s letter would have arrived in the town. The Constantine era church structure is where a regional council of 30 bishops outlawed the keeping of Sabbath in 363 AD.

After Laodicea we explored Hierapolis. There is quite a bit of exploration and discovery happening here. The thermal hot springs and white deposits are also a major feature.

We had some free time to explore and/or get lunch. Julia and I hiked to the theater, then on to Philip’s tomb, and a church with eight (I think) arches. Philip was martyred in Hierapolis. We took off our shoes and waded in the warm water flowing over the mineral deposits. There was so much to see and do that we didn’t take time for lunch.

By Andrew Zimmerman

Excited about travel in the Bible lands!