Monday meandering

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.

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 Mark Wilson, Biblical Turkey, coveramong 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.

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