And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are 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.”’
Having just a bit of knowledge about the geography of Laodicea and the surrounding region brings a clear understanding to this passage. Laodicea was a hill city located between two other important cities of that day. To the south was Colossae, the destination of Paul’s letter to the Colossians. Colossae’s water source was an exceptionally cold stream which flowed from a mountain spring. To the north was Hierapolis, a city built on hot springs. These springs were famous for their medicinal qualities and people traveled from great distances to bathe in these warm waters.
And so, Laodicea sits between two cities, one cold and one hot; both useful to those who rely upon them. Laodicea was neither cold nor hot. Laodicea did not have its own water source. An aqueduct brought water from a mountain miles away. As a result, the water was dirty and lukewarm; useful to no one.
Obviously, the letter to the Church at Laodicea would have immediately hit home with those who were familiar with this scenario.
It said, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.” In other words, you aren’t useful. You are lukewarm, not benefiting the Kingdom in any way.
The Laodiceans had a source issue. Could it be that all of their efforts and Kingdom endeavors flowed from the wrong source? Perhaps their motives were wrong or they trusted in human means rather that divine supply.
It begs the question, am I useful, or am I lukewarm? Do my works, my life, add any value to the Kingdom? It probably depends upon my source.