Turkey, Greece, Rome Study Tour with The Well Community Church

November 1-13, 2022

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Day 01 - Pergamum and Sardis

After the two-day journey, our group finally arrived in Turkey. We begin our day traveling from Izmir to the ancient city of Pergamum, located next to the Aegean Sea along the ancient trade route. We saw the ruins of temples and places of worship for the pagan deities in this city. From the teachings today, we learned that Pergamum had four patron deities who were worshiped by the people. They welcomed any gods into their culture as long as they weren't exclusionary; the citizens were also required to worship the Roman emperor. This is in opposition to the truth of the gospel which Paul brought to the city. There is only one true God. The new Christians in Pergamum were then faced with a decision: do they continue in the evil practices of the society filled with sexual immorality or do they set themselves apart for Christ and live counterculturally? Learning about this history and culture brings to life the words written in scripture.


Paul instructs "The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:12)


Thankfully, there were a group of Christians in Pergamum who made the decision to live boldly and walk in the light, allowing the gospel to continue to grow and spread throughout the region.


We also discovered Sardis, the once mighty stronghold and capital of the Lydians a striking display of military fortitude during the Persian empire grounded upon an acropolis, rising hundreds of feet above surrounding land. Sardis combined the best of the world's offerings including a fertile agricultural valley, and abundance of precious metals, all while standing at the terminus of the King's highway, a 2000 mile trade route in the Persian empire. 


Sardis, was a symbol of luxury, second only to Solomon's wealth, lavishly displayed through its gold adorned features almost it's sprawling gymnasium and bathhouse providing space for athletes, commoners and nobles and all religious backgrounds to enjoy common interests together. 


However what fascinated me most about this town was the Jewish synagogue was centered in what seemed like their version of Times Square, a seemingly good idea to place the most holy building in the heart of a city. Yet if the heart is complacent to God's commands through small compromises emphasizing comfort and life's pleasures, this adulterated God's people and quickly led to their spiritual demise. The relinquish of Sardis militarist fortitude followed also through a lack of vigilance and complacency. 


1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 "for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then, let’s not sleep as others do, but let’s be alert and sober."


Alyssa & David 

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