Lot’s Cave (Safi)

The first stopover for the pilgrimage in Jordan was at a location called Lot’s
cave, which was located near the ancient town of Zoar. A Byzantine monastery
from the 7th century AD was built where it was believed that Lot and his
daughters found refuge in a cave after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah,
And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters
with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two
daughters.” (Gen. 19:30)

To access the cave, the pilgrims had to engage in a climbing up of a flight of 250
steps. There was a mosaic excavated by the British Museum. Some remains
from 3000-2000 B.C. had been discovered near the cave, including an
inscription that mentions Lot by name were also discovered. Some of these
findings were placed in the Lot’s Cave Museum located at the foot of the cliff.
Was this the cave in which Lot and his two daughters dwelt? It is hard to tell.
Nevertheless, it gave us an idea on what it was like for Lot to stay in a cave in
the region. Suffice to say it was far less hospitable compared to the cave oasis of
Ein-gedi. There were no vegetation nor water springs. It was hard living.

How did it all come to this? It all came down to Lot’s disastrous choice to live in
Sodom following a dispute between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. Abram
proposed that the two groups go their separate ways, with Lot having the choice
of the land, “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it
was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and
Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou
comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot
journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram
dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and
pitched his tent toward Sodom.” (Gen. 13:10-12)

However, Lot only looked at the riches which Sodom offered and failed to
consider that “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD
exceedingly.” (Gen. 13:13) This was the start of the life of compromise from
Lot. He first pitched his tent toward Sodom (Gen. 13:12) but soon dwelt in
Sodom (Gen. 14:12). Finally, Lot managed to secure a place to sit in the gate
of Sodom (Gen. 19:1). This meant that he became a man of great influence
and leadership in Sodom.

What were the consequences of Lot’s compromise? First, his sons-in-law
mocked him when he warned them of the coming judgment on the city (Gen.
19:14). Why should they trust in his testimony when he showed little interest
in the things of the Lord throughout his stay in Sodom? Thus, Lot’s failure to
exercise Biblical Separation destroyed any witness he could have for the Lord.
Second, as his family were fleeing Sodom, his wife looked back despite the
warning of the angel not to do so. The Scripture records that Lot’s wife
became a pillar of salt. There is a pillar of salt called Lot’s wife in Mount
Sodom in Israel but no one really knows if that is Lot’s wife. The critical
lesson to learn here is that Lot’s disastrous choice led to his wife loving the
world so much. Even in the midst of fleeing, she looked back towards Sodom,
which led to her destruction.

Third, during the stay in the cave, the daughters of Lot came to a horrific decision, “And
the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth
to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink
wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made
their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and
he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the
morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my
father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that
we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night
also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down,
nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their
father.” (Gen. 19:31-36)

The tragedy of the acts of incest is reflected in the names of the children who were born.
The first was called Moab, who became the father of the Moabites. The meaning of
Moab is, “Who is my father?” When the firstborn son looked at Lot, how should he
address him? For Lot was both the father and the grandfather. The second son to be
born was called Ben-ammi, who became the father of the Ammonites. The meaning of
Ben-ammi is, “son of my people”. The daughter of Lot still regarded Sodom as her
people. Sodom may have been destroyed physically but the disastrous compromise of
Lot meant that Sodom was never taken out from the hearts of his children.
Dear friends, do not underestimate the ill-effects of compromise in one’s life. The Bible
emphatically declares, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If
any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father,
but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth
the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn. 2:15-17)

Let us love the Lord, our God, with our all. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matt.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew