The Aqueduct of Segovia is one of the most well preserved elevated Roman aqueducts in the world. Likely constructed toward the end of first century or beginning of the second century CE during the reign of Emperor Domitian or Trajan, the aqueduct transported water from the Rio Frio River to the city of Segovia, Spain, spanning a distance of nearly eleven miles. The elevated portion of the aqueduct measures 2388 feet in length and is 93.5 feet tall at its maximum height. It consists of approximately 24,000 granite blocks fit together to make 165 arches, which are more than 30 feet tall. This amazing feat of engineering continued to carry water to the people of Segovia up until the 20th century. According to legend, it was during this time period that people decided that the aqueduct should be preserved rather than used. So, they laid modern pipes to bring drinking water to the town and allowed the aqueduct to rest as a treasured monument. But the unexpected happened. The aqueduct began to deteriorate. Apparently, the lack of water flowing through the aqueduct allowed the sun to dry out the rocks and mortar which then caused the structure to crumble. Now, the Aqueduct of Segovia is listed by the World Monuments Fund as a monument to watch due to its deteriorating state. Ultimately, the lack of use brought about the aqueduct’s demise.
In Acts 2:42-47 we are given a glimpse into the life of the first century church, and this section begins with the simple phrase “they devoted themselves to.” In the following verses we discover devotion to God’s Word, fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and prayer, as well as an emphasis on benevolence, involvement, and worship. But there is one more detail about the first century church mentioned by Luke in this passage that should not be overlooked. The eighth and final detail we discover about the first century church is that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). In this simple statement, Luke acknowledged that the first century church was multiplying rather than stagnating, and such a statement is an indicator that the first century church was devoted to evangelism.
For the past several weeks we have observed what the first century church devoted itself to based on Luke’s description in Acts 2:42-47. The seventh detail we discover about the first century church is that they were “praising God” (Acts 2:47).
According to Acts 2:42-47 the first century church was devoted to the Word of God (i.e. apostles’ teaching), fellowship, the Lord’s Supper (i.e. the breaking of bread), prayer, and, as we noted in the previous article, involvement. It was also devoted to benevolent activity. Throughout the book of Acts the church is depicted as a people who denounced materialism and adopted a communal lifestyle in order to meet the needs of the poor. In other words, they emphasized benevolence.