Some places in the Bible were named after important events that happened there. Others seem to have prophetic names, anticipating the events that would take place later. Can you match the location with the meaning of its name? (Clue: There are more place names than needed.)
- Dead Sea
- Pool of Bethesda
- Sea of Galilee
- Pool of Siloam
- Jordan River
- Isaiah prophesied that from the stump of Jesse "a Branch will bear fruit" (Isa. 11:1). Jesus grew to manhood in ___________ which means "branch."
- This body of water, the ________________________, received its name, which means "circle" or "harp-shaped," from its appearance
- Abraham named this place, _______________, which means "well of the oath" (or "well of seven") after making a treaty here with Abimelech.
- "Death has been swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor. 15:54) at _______________, a location which means "the place of the skull."
- Jesus' soul was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" (Matt. 26:38) at the "oil press," or ______________, a place where olives were squeezed to produce pure oil.
- The name of this village, __________________, means "House of Bread," an apt birthplace for "The Bread of Life" (John 6:48).
- "The Holy Spirit descended on [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove" (Luke 3:22) at the________________, a name that means "the descender."
Answers to Build Your Bible Power
1. Nazareth(Luke 2:39). A village in Jesus' day, Nazareth sits on a plateau 1,200 feet above sea level. It's 85 miles north of Jerusalem and 90 miles from Bethlehem, nestled among the rolling hills of Lower Galilee.
2. Sea of Galilee or Gennesaret (Luke 5:1). This small, freshwater lake is 680 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean, fed by the Jordan River. Capernaum (on the northwest shore), and the lake itself, played important roles in Jesus' ministry.
3. Beersheba (Gen. 21:25-31). The site for Abraham's well was situated on an important crossroads along the trade route to Egypt. "Beersheba" can refer to Abraham's agreement with the Philistine ruler ("well of the oath"), or to the seven lambs he sacrificed to seal the oath ("well of seven").
4. Calvary or Golgotha (John 19:17-18). Calvary comes from the Latin word, calvaria; Golgotha from the Aramaic?both refer to "a bare skull." Historians are unsure if it was so-called because it was a place of execution, or because the limestone rock formation resembled a skull. For the prophet Isaiah, it represented a place of victory (Isa. 25:7-8).
5. Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46). "The garden of the olive press" is located across the Kidron valley from Jerusalem on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. Olive oil was used for anointing, for lamp fuel, and as a balm for wounds?all metaphors for Christ and his work.
6. Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7). The city was mentioned in the book of Ruth, where the author uses wordplay to describe how a famine in the "house of bread" caused Naomi to leave her homeland. When the famine ended, she returned to Bethlehem with Ruth, an ancestress of Jesus Christ, the "Bread of Life."
7. Jordan River (Luke 3:21-22). The longest and most important river in Israel, the Jordan is called "the descender" because it begins as melted snow atop Mount Hermon (8,500 feet high), flows through the Sea of Galilee, and empties into the Dead Sea?the lowest spot on the earth's surface.
1998 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian magazine (formerly Christian Reader).
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