7.18.2008

Not Far From Us


For me, one of the highlights of my vacation was visiting Chichen Itza, which I had studied about in college but had never had the opportunity to see before.

Chichen Itza was a pre-Columbian Mayan cultural center and is located on the Northern Yucat√°n peninsula, a dry area with no rivers above ground.

Despite this, Chichen Itza was able to thrive as a major Mayan city because of two cenotes located there. A cenote is a sinkhole which contains groundwater, and the two cenotes of Chichen Itza were substantial in size and would likely have contained adequate water year round for the people the city.

However, of the two cenotes, only one was used for drinking water, because Cenote Sagrado (pictured above) was believed to be the home of the Mayan rain god, Chaac.

In order to keep Chaac happy and the rain plentiful, the Mayan people would offer human sacrifices. These sacrifices, often children, would be weighted down with gold and silver jewelry and then tossed into Cenote Sagrado. Their remains, as well as the treasure that dragged them to their deaths, were found hundreds of years later when the area was excavated in the early 1900s.

I thought the history of Cenote Sagrado was fascinating when I heard it, but aside from that, my chief reaction is one of sadness—how sad it is that so many children had to be killed in order for the people of Chichen Itza to appease a god they didn’t understand, and whose will they had to guess at.

Paul describes a different God in Acts 17.27 who “is not far from each one of us.”

How fortunate we are to have a God who revealed Himself to us through the life of His Son, and whose will and desires for us we can know by reading His Word!

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