the Tewa Indians living near the Rio Grande in New Mexico, as well as other
Pueblo people of North America, the “mythical” Avanyu was believed to be a very
powerful god. According to their ancient religion, this deity can supposedly
cause both earthly and supernatural events. Like other serpent deities of
ancient North America, the beliefs about Avanyu seem to be similar to those
found in Meso-America, leading many archaeologists to lump them together under
the same term: “Feathered Serpent”.
In a short account in Acts, wedged between his
shipwreck and arrival in Rome, we find Paul and his company on the island of
Malta in the Mediterranean Sea (Acts 28:1-10). The brief story describes the
unusual kindness of the native people towards the shipwrecked survivors. It is
on this island that Paul is bitten by a viper and yet suffers no harm, causing
the natives to think him a god.