Jordan River Overview
Places of Interest
Jordan River Overview
1. The Jordan River begins at Mount Hermon in the northernmost part of Israel, flows into the Sea of Galilee, and then out and down to the Dead Sea.
2. The lower part of the river has the lowest elevation of any river in the world.
3. It’s the border between Israel and Jordan for much if its length.
4. Today, because of the high demands of water by both Israel and Jordan, little water makes it to the Dead Sea area.
1. The Jordan River is mentioned over 180 times in the Bible.
2. It is the main River in Israel, supplying much of the country with water.
3. Its total winding length is about 125 miles (200 km.).
4. The meaning of “Jordan” in Hebrew is “descend.” This is true of the Jordan River as it literally descends thousands of feet from its inception to its ending, and all but the beginning part is below sea level.
5. However, there’s a deeper spiritual meaning to the word. In the same way we must descend to access the Jordan River’s waters physically, we must descend and humble ourselves before we can ascend spiritually. This concept is seen in many of the miracles that happened in and around its shores.
Places of Interest
1. Mount Hermon: Rises to around 9,232 ft. (2,813 m.) above sea level and supplies the Jordan River with most of its water.
2. Hermon Stream Nature Reserve: Beginning area of the Jordan River.
3. Jordan River View: Nice viewing place where the river is wide and calm.
4. Sea of Galilee: The Jordan River flows into and out of the Sea of Galilee.
5. Yardenit Baptismal Site: Located just south of the Sea of Galilee. It’s a popular place where many pilgrims get baptized in the Jordan River.
6. Adam – Place the waters of the Jordan backed up to when the Israelites crossed the river (20 miles, 32 km. above crossing).
7. Baptismal Site of Jesus: Located across from Jericho, this is the believed place where Jesus was baptized. It’s also a popular place where many people get baptized today as well.
8. Crossing of the Jordan River by the Israelites: Located close-by to the Baptismal Site of Jesus.
9. Camp Gilgal
11. Dead Sea
Jordan River in the Bible
1. Abraham entered the Promised Land through the gateway of the Jordan River Valley when he first journeyed from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 12:1–9).
2. When Abraham and Lot divided their possessions, Lot chose to settle in the lower part of the Jordan River Valley.
Genesis 13:10: And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
3. Before entering the Promised Land, the Israelites camped on the east side of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho.
Joshua 3:1: Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
4. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground as God miraculously parted the waters.
Joshua 3:14–17: So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam [20 miles, 32 km. north], the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
5. Naaman, the Leper, was healed in the Jordan River by the Prophet Elisha.
2 Kings 5:10–14: And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
6. Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan with his cloak.
2 Kings 2:6–8: Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
7. Elisha made the head of an ax float at the Jordan River.
2 Kings 6:1–7: Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” 3 Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. 7 And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
8. John the Baptist baptized people in the Jordan River.
Matthew 3:5–6: Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
9. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:13–17: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
10. The disciples of Jesus baptized many in the Jordan River.
John 4:1–3: Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.
Faith Lesson from the Jordan River
1. The Jordan River represented life and vitality to the Israelites. They were desert people, and water was their life. Therefore, Christ used this concept to teach them that in the same way water was vital for their physical lives, He was vital for their spiritual lives as well. Do we realize the importance of a close relationship with Christ in order to have spiritual life and vitality?
2. The meaning of Jordan means “descend.” In a spiritual sense, are we humble before God and submissive to Him in order to grow spiritually?
3. The Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. In so doing, God reminded them of the miracle of crossing the Red Sea after their exodus from Egypt. Often, God will repeat miracles to show His faithfulness. What things has God done repeatedly to show His faithfulness to us?
4. Naaman, the leper, had his own idea of how God should operate. Do we often have our own ideas as well as to how we think God should do things?
5. Baptism played a large role in the ministries of John the Baptist, Jesus, and his disciples. It was a baptism of repentance. What is our view of baptism today, and how important is it to us and our ministries?
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