Ephesus and Ancient Turkey

Our first port was Kusadasi. From there, Alan and I took an 8-hour bus tour called “The Best of Antiquities.”  In Turkey, almost anywhere people dig, they find ancient archeological sites.We visited Miletus, a port where St. Paul landed, and Magnesia. The site at Magnesia had a major highway running over the top and through the middle of it before people realized there were wonderful ruins hidden several meters under the earth.We also visited Didyma. Until 1911, it just appeared to be a hill with a windmill on top, but an archaeologist discovered beneath it the Temple of Apollo.This magnificent temple had 120 marble pillars and was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.Even today, the ancient monumental sites are architectural and artistic marvels!The most impressive site was Ephesus, which ranks right up there with Athens and Rome ((in our experience) for its awe-inspiring complexity and beauty.I had always thought of Ephesus as a small rural community where Paul started a church, but in fact it was a city of 250,000 with a main road made of granite blocks so closely aligned that it still makes a smooth walkway today, 2,000 years later!Ephesus had public bath houses and multiple toilets with running water!They also had an elaborate system of pipes to serve the city’s water needs.I tend to imagine that ancient civilizations were more primitive than ours, but that simply isn’t true! Some, like Ephesus, were highly sophisticated and brilliant, and it was to this cosmopolitan metropolis that the angel gave a special commendation and warning: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience…Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent…or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place…” (Revelation 2:2,5)Truly, not much remains of Ephesus today except enough to know that it was at one time a glorious city! Alan is standing in front of the facade of their magnificent public library…now empty and silent!(We’re standing in front of the 24,000-seat amphitheater where Paul preached.)

I’ve thought a lot about those ancient ruins since we’ve been back home. I wonder how many people allow the debris of life to cover the beauty and grandeur of their Christian roots and allow the temple of their heart to become a ruin. What about me? I’d like to leave us all with Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church: “That he [God] would grant you [and me], according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)