|Water tower at Laodicea|
Since Laodicea’s location was determined by the trade routes, it suffered from an adequate supply of fresh water. It is believed this is the background to the reference in Revelation 3:15–16
“neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”1.Jesus compared the tepid waters near the city, which produced vomiting, to the lukewarm spiritual life of the Laodiceans, eliciting the imagery of Christ vomiting the Laodiceans out of his mouth.
Laodicea took its water from the hot springs in Hierapolis and the spring at Colossae, but in the six miles of aqueduct that separated Laodicea from the water sources, the water cooled to become lukewarm. John exploited this imagery in Revelation 3:15–16 and described what happened when one drinks lukewarm, mineral-laden water: vomiting. Porter argues that the water supply was from the hot springs in Hierapolis because of the calcification in the terracotta water pipes found by archaeologists and hardness of the water (Strabo Geogr. 13.4.14).2.
1. F. F. Bruce, “Colossian Problems, Part 1: Jews and Christians in the Lycus Valley,” Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (1984): 3–15; 1. Edwin M. Yamauchi, New Testament Cities in Western Asia Minor: Light from Archaeology on Cities of Paul and the Seven Churches of Revelation (Eugene, Oreg.: Wipf & Stock, 2003), 141; 1. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, Revised, New International Commentary on the New Testament 17 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997), 123; Sherman E. Johnson, “Laodicea and Its Neighbors,” The Biblical Archaeologist 13 (1950): 1–18; David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Fort Worth: Dominion, 1987), 134; 1. George R. Beasley-Murray, Book of Revelation, New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983), 105.
2. 1. Stanley E. Porter, “Why the Laodiceans Received Lukewarm Water (Rev 3:15–18),” Tyndale Bulletin 38 (1987): 147.