This city that Christians fled to – Pella – why there? I didn't even know where Pella was so I took out the Good Land brochure. Once I located it I was even more intrigued. It seemed to be in a good spot, in the watershed of the Jordon, not far from Capernaum and the areas Jesus and the apostles walked. I did a search on the Watchtower program and also one on the Internet. I am pasting what I found with a few thoughts on the subject. I have checked the Insight book and it doesn’t have a separate listing for Pella. It is only mentioned in passing in a few places such as under ‘Decapolis’.~C
The site of ancient Pella lies among rugged hills and sharp valleys in the modern country of Jordan, about 2.5 miles east of the Jordan River and 17 miles south of the Sea of Galilee…
Pella stood on two mounds, separated by Wadi Jirm. …. The main site is a large oval mound to the north of the Wadi and rising some 100 feet above it… A spring flows into the Wadi from below the major tell which supported the ancient civilizations in the area.
Survey of the History of Pella.
… The Roman general Pompey made Pella part of the collection of ten semi-independent Hellenistic cities called the "Decapolis" in 63 BC.(18) It was one of several Hellenistic towns and cities attacked by Jewish rebels at the outset of the AD 66-70 war against Rome. Evidently the city underwent considerable growth toward the end of the first century; its first Roman coins were issued in AD 82/83…
After 63 B.C.E.. “these Hellenistic cities were given Roman protection and a favored status” – quote from the Insight book under ‘Decapolis’, Pella was one of the 10 cities in that area.
It also says, *** it-1 p. 603 Decapolis ***
After the Passover of 32 C.E., and upon returning from a trip to the regions of Tyre and Sidon in Phoenicia, Jesus came “to the sea of Galilee up through the midst of the regions of Decapolis.” (Mr 7:31) Somewhere in this region he healed a deaf man having a speech impediment and later miraculously fed a crowd of 4,000.—Mr 7:32–8:9.
*** w86 8/15 p. 19 The Christians’ Flight to Pella ***
IN 33 C.E., Jesus Christ warned his followers to “begin fleeing to the mountains” when they saw “Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies.” (Luke 21:20-24) But where did they actually flee to? French orientalist and historian Joseph Ernest Renan answers: “The place selected by the heads of the [Christian] community to serve as the principal asylum for the fugitive Church was Pella, one of the towns of Decapolis, situated near the left bank of the Jordan in an admirable position, overlooking on one side the whole plain of Ghor, and having on the other precipitous cliffs, at the foot of which runs a torrent. No wiser choice could have been made. Judæa, Idumæa, Peræa, and Galilee were in insurrection; Samaria and the coast were in a very unsettled state . . . Thus Scythopolis and Pella were the nearest neutral cities to Jerusalem. Pella, by its position beyond the Jordan, must have offered much more tranquillity than Scythopolis, which had become one of the Roman strongholds. Pella was a free city like the other towns of Decapolis . . . To take refuge there was openly to avow horror of the [Jewish] revolt . . . It was in this anti-Jewish town that the Church of Jerusalem found refuge during the horrors of the siege.”
So the choice of Pella as the place to flee fit with Jehovah being a loving, empathetic God who does not allow us to experience more than we can endure. The area seems to have been well settled with plenty of near-by water and a trade route not too far from it. It looks like it might have been in or very near the watershed area of the eastern banks of the Jordan. The area would be a route the apostles might have known from traveling with Jesus. It seems reasonable that Jehovah and Jesus would guide the elders in their thinking about where to flee. They would have been helped to choose a place that would not add to his people’s pain. He knew they would be there for quite a while. From the drama, it can be seen that Pella was not an advanced city like Jerusalem. It would not have the amenities or comforts and be a step back in the way things were done. However, it was safe and had the necessities.
Knowing how the Faithful Slave and even the local congregations help us prepare for challenging times ahead, it seemed hard to imagine that the first century elders in the 50 and 60's C.E. would not have given careful thought to this. It seemed like it would not be a helter skelter thing but instructions as to where to go and what route to take might have been prepared. I read that in the off-rainy season there are places the Jordon can be crossed without too much difficulty so even a good place to cross the river might have been discussed. When we get similar instructions from the Governing Body lets be quick and confident about trusting that they are a choice guided by Divine Providence. ~ C