Hannah filled her clay jar with water from the aqueduct as her little brother pulled impatiently at her robe.
“I’m thirsty!” Eli exclaimed. “Why can’t I get a drink now?”
“You know why. The water has to cool and the hardness has to settle out of it. You need to learn patience.
Hannah began her slow dusty walk back to their home, keeping a watchful eye on Eli.
“Because it’s 10 miles away!”
“Their water is good. Uncle Nathaniel says so. He says our water is no good but they have cold water. It doesn’t need to settle.”
Hannah sighed again. “Next you’ll want to go see Julius.”
“Will not. His city has hot water. I can’t drink that.”
“Oh, Eli, those are hot springs. They don’t drink the hot water. But they can bathe in the springs. There are minerals in the water so it makes you feel better to lie there.”
“Can we lie in our water?”
Hannah laughed. “Most of the minerals settle out of the water before it gets to us.”
Eli pointed to the Roman-built pipeline. “There are minerals crusted all over the inside of it. It doesn’t smell good, either.”
“Well, that’s why we have to take the water home and let it settle before we can drink it.”
“Why is the water lukewarm?”
“It started out hot.”
“I wish it would cool down faster,” Eli said. “I am thirsty.”
“Well, right now our water is useless. That’s why we let it cool and settle before we drink it. Be patient!”
When Hannah later heard John’s letter to her church, she instantly understood his warning. For Colossae, down the road 10 miles, had renowned cold water springs. Hierapolis, across the valley, was known for its medicinal hot springs.
But Laodicea had only piped-in water which, by the time it got to the village, had encrusted the aqueduct with minerals and spewed forth a lukewarm broth that was not fit to drink. The water was ineffective, having neither medicinal nor drinking qualities. If taken directly from the pipeline, the water would make one vomit.
The Laodicean church had also become ineffective by John’s time, with a lack of fruitfulness that made God sick. His warning was not about their faith but that their deeds had grown useless.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.