Perhaps like many of you, I have been occupied with working on taxes the past few days. Not much time to write something substantial. I decided to share one of the sunset photos I made of the island of Santorini silhouetted against the sunset.
Santorini at sunset. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
The sun plays a prominent role in the visions of John from the island of Patmos, also in the Aegean. Note just this one reference to the woman who gives birth to the “male child.”
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. (Revelation 12:1-2 ESV)
The Macmillan Dictionary defines meander this way:
- a river or road that meanders follows a path with a lot of turns and curves
- to move slowly without a particular direction or purpose in mind
- to talk or write for a long time, changing subjects or ideas, so that people become bored or confused
We all use the word meander, but do we know its origin? The Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 explains the origin:
a river in Phrygia, proverbial for its many windings
The Meander River, now in Turkey, begins northeast of the Lycus River Valley and flows southwesterly past Miletus into the Aegean Sea. The Lycus River begins southeast of the valley that bears its name and flows northwesterly past Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis (Col. 4:13) until it flows into the Meander.
It would take a good aerial photo to show how the river meanders, but you can get an idea here that there are only short stretches visible at any one time before the rivers makes a turn.
Meander River near Aphrodisias, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Mark Wilson, in his outstanding Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor, comments on Phrygia.
In Acts 2:10 Jews from Phrygia are mentioned among those gathered in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. …
During the Roman period western Phrygia was in the province of Asia, eastern Phrygia was in the province of Galatia. Paul passed through both Galatic and Asian Phyrgia on his way to Troas on his second journey (Acts 16:6) and to Ephesus on his third journey (Acts 18:23). During Paul’s time in Ephesus churches were established in the Phrygian cities of Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae (Colossians 1:2; 4:13,16). (page 188)
Thanks for meandering through Bible lands with me. We will use the river as our new header for a while.
Samos is a mountainous island in the SE part of the Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor. It is 27 miles long (E-W) and about 14 miles wide. The island is separated from the mainland by a strait of one mile.
- The port of Samos on the island of Samos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Paul and his companions stopped at, or passed near, Samos on the return from his third journey.
Sailing from there [Mitylene], we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to Miletus. (Act 20:15 NAU)
English versions do not make it clear whether Paul stopped at Samos or came within sight of the island. These comments by Floyd Filson might be helpful.
Paul’s ship…either ‘touched at’ and anchored overnight at Samos (so RSV, though this is an unusual meaning for parebalomen) or ‘came near’ to Samos and passed by it on the E or the W to anchor for the night at Trogyllium. (Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. IV:197)
Here is a view of the eastern end of Samos as a ship passes through the most narrow part of the strait between the island and the Turkish mainland.
- Samos from a ship in the strait between island & mainland. Photo: F. Jenkins.
Paul may not have visited Samos, but it is clear that he came very close.