In Tractate Avodah Zarah, the Talmud forbids drinking from water fountains decorated with graven images of deities. Archaeologists recently found just such a faucet near the ancient Galilean town of Tzippori, writes Amanda Borschel-Dan:
The [anthropomorphized] lion spout . . . measures 6 by 5 inches. Its gaping mouth leaves room for a pipe two centimeters in diameter, from which water would have splashed in a drinking fountain or bathhouse. It is formed from marble, likely imported from Turkey. . . . Ornately decorated drain spouts were usually formed into the images of animal heads or characters from mythology. They were in use from the Hellenistic era through the Roman and early Byzantine era as common architectural elements.
The archaeological site Tzippori, also known by its Greek name Sepphoris, is most known for its famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” mosaic. The Western Galilee city was a major home to a flourishing mixed pagan, Christian, and Jewish community during the 4th through 7th centuries CE. The settlement’s vast system of aqueducts and cisterns dates to the 1st and 2nd centuries and was in use until the 7th or 8th.
After the Jewish Revolt and destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, many sages moved north and by the 3rd century CE it was the seat of Rabbi Judah the Prince, where he began compiling the Mishnah.