A very old place--a border city of the Canaanites (Gen. 10:19), allotted to Judah (Josh. 15:47). It was one of the five cities of the Philistines (I Sam. 6:17). Samson did a great feat of strength in Gaza (Judg. 16:1-3). It was while he was on his way to Gaza ("the same is desert") that Philip was sent by Spirit to teach and baptize the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26). Jeremiah prophesied against the kings of Gaza (Jer. 25:20).
Gaza (Acts 8:26) means strength, whose center of action is in the loins, but it is "desert." Strength has departed from that part of the consciousness, and weakness and barrenness occupy its place. The Ethiopian eunuch represents the ignorance and impotency of the consciousness acting at this center. He is reading aloud the Scripture as he rides along in his chariot, but there is no understanding. This means that life is a mere sound of empty words to the transitory physical strength that journeys for a human lifetime in the vehicle of the body. An understanding of the power of the redemptive Christ life will change all this, however: "Philip...preached unto him Jesus."