By the Riverside

This is a simple but effective way of telling the story of Paul meeting Lydia by the riverside. The script and photographs are available for download. Click here for all you need!

This church near Philippi is dedicated to Lydia

To tell this story you will need:
- Dress ups for Lydia (A white sheet and a dressing gown tie will do)
- A length of blue fabric for the river
- Some purple cloth.
- A bag of coins, or a large picture of coins – click here to download.
- A handful of shells, or a large picture of shells  (See link above)

- A copy of the PowerPoint if you are using it - create this using the images in our dropbox folder.

Before hand:
- Choose a volunteer to dress up as Lydia.
- Choose two other volunteers to spread out the river for Lydia to sit beside.
- Give out the props and let people know that when their prop comes up as part of the story they are to bring it to the front and give it to Lydia.


The words in italics are instructions. 
Display on a PowerPoint a map to show where Philippi is.

Here we are by the river that flows just outside of the walls of the city of Philippi. 

Call up the two volunteers to lay out the river. 
The day is the Sabbath and some of the women have gathered here, down by the river in the cool.

Call up Lydia.
This is Lydia. Say hi to Lydia. She is a seller of purple cloth.
Can someone brings up the purple cloth and give it to Lydia?
Actually, the writer of Acts tells us that Lydia is a seller literally of purple. She is from the town of Thyatira, a place known for its purple dye as well as its weaving.
She is a wealthy woman. 

Give Lydia a bag of coins to hold.
She is a wealthy woman. Far more wealthy than a humble tent-maker. Her business involves trading the rare purple dye that colours the robes of kings and emperors. Purple is extremely expensive, it has to be taken from a shellfish! 

Bring up a handful of shells, or a picture of some. Place them on the river’s edge.

It took thousands of these shellfish to make a metre or two of purple cloth. So it was very expensive, said to be worth its weight in silver.

So, as a trader of purple she is a very important woman. She knows people all over the Mediterranean and she knows people in shipping, as the ships carried her goods all around to be sold. She came to Philippi because it was an important trading city.

And she worships God. She is called a ‘God-fearer’. This is a name given to people who were interested in the God the Jews worshipped. Even though she was a Roman citizen, she took a great risk to find out more.

She has come to the river to pray with others.

The year is around 50AD and Paul arrives in town. As was his custom he went looking for the local Jewish community. Normally he found himself in a synagogue, but on this Sabbath day he finds himself enjoying the shade of a tree and the sound of a bubbling brook. 

The River in the town of Lydia, on the outskirts of Philippi
Display on the PowerPoint a photo of the river. Click here to download a photo of the river.

Here he meets Lydia. And on that day Lydia’s life is changed, and the lives of her entire household along with her. Acts 16 describes it this way:

The Lord opened her heart to accept Paul’s message. She and her family were baptized. Then she invited us to her home. “Do you consider me a believer in the Lord?” she asked. “If you do, come and stay at my house.” She succeeded in getting us to go home with her.


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