Category Archives: Tel Dan

A Place of Idolatry Becomes a Place of Faith

As we arrived at Caesarea Philippi this afternoon, we saw the place where archaeology has uncovered an open-air shrine above a cave from which water flows. This water forms the headwaters of the Jordan River.

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Niches in the side of the cliff (still visible today) held statues of the Greek god Pan—the mythical half man, half goat who played the panpipe. We get the word “panic” from this frightful god, and it’s no small wonder! Pan had a thirst for carnal pleasure and once was chasing a nymph named Syrinx, who turned herself into a stand of marsh reeds (well, that’s the story). So Pan made a flute from the reeds, and that’s how the panpipe got its name—it’s also why the Walt Disney character Peter Pan plays the flute. (Sorry, kids.)

So why did we come here? Better question: why did Jesus come up here?

Jesus brought His twelve disciples all the way up to the pagan region of Banias/Caesarea Philippi to ask them the question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13). The people, of course, saw Jesus as nothing more than a good man, a moral teacher, whom some would even call a prophet.

“But who do you say that I am?” He asked His followers. They responded that they believed He was the Messiah of God (Matthew 16:16).

We do too.

—Wayne Stiles
Bible Teacher for Sapphire Bus 6
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Streams at Dan

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Water, clear and pure, flows from several underground springs to form the Dan River, which then feeds the Jordan River.

Jesus undoubtedly thought of springs like these when He saw a Samaritan woman laboring to draw lukewarm water from an inert well–a task she had to repeat daily. He saw in her labors an illustration of religious ritual and its empty promise to give life to all who work hard enough and long enough to deserve God’s favor.

Perhaps with these gushing Galilean springs in mind, He said, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Mark Gaither
Bus 18

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