In "By the Waters of Babylon", John seeks knowledge in the Place of the Gods. While on his way, he first tries to determine whether or not his is a "good" journey. When he sees the eagle and then the deer going east, he takes these as good omens. He has to avoid the Forest People, though, because his tribe (the Hill People) are enemies with the Forest People. He must also cross the Oudison (Hudson) River to get to the Place of the Gods. John is able to build a raft in order to cross the river, but he almost doesn't make it because he has never been on a raft before. In the Place of the Gods, he is stunned to find that is is in ruins instead of some enchanted place. After exploring the area, he has a vision in which he sees the "gods" with their magical things being destroyed by fire that fell from the sky (it was New York City being bombed). He learns that the gods were merely men; however, he does not tell his people right away because the knowledge would destroy thier faith and the society of the Hill People.
He try's to get more knowledge of The place of gods. He has to get past things such as the river and he has to make sure he doesn't go where "no one has gone before"