Jordan River

The Jordan river originates north of the Sea of Galilee where four rivers (the Ayun, the Hasbani, the Dan, and the Basias) come together and empties into the Dead Sea.

Old Testament Edit

Israel camped on the eastern edge of the Jordan river until God told them to cross over and take the Promised Land. God told Joshua to have the priests take up the Ark of the Covenant and go before the people across the Jordan. As the feet of the priests touched the water, the waters coming down stopped and rose up in a great heap at the city of Adam until the whole nation of Israel had crossed safely on dry ground.[1]

The Jordan river was the dividing line between the two and a half tribes that settled east of the river and the nine and a half tribes of Israel that settled on the western side.[2] This was a concern for the eastern tribes so they built an altar of imposing size on the eastern shores as a reminder to those tribes on the western banks. Their intent was to create a monument so that the generations to come would see it and remember those who settled to the east of the Jordan were still members of the Lord's inheritance.[3]

During the struggle between Gilead and Ephraim the Gileadites captured the area of the Jordan river near Jericho. When ever someone would travel through they would tell them to say "Shibboleth." If the person said "Sibboleth" they knew he was an Ephraimite because they could not pronounce the word correctly. That person would be seized and killed.[4]

Several other miracles that took place at the Jordan river were also recorded in the Old Testament. Both Elijah and Elisha crossed on dry ground after striking the river with the cloak of Elijah.[5] Elisha also commanded Naaman to go to the Jordan and rinse seven times to be healed from his leprosy.[6] As the prophets were building a new community an axe head came loose and fell into the river. Elisha threw a stick into the Jordan where the axe head sank and the iron floated up to the surface.[7]

New Testament Edit

John the Baptist baptized many unto repentance in the Jordan river.[8] He also baptized Jesus there as well, proclaiming that Jesus was the Son of God and the Lamb of God.[9]

References Edit

  1. Joshua 3
  2. Numbers 34:15; Joshua 13:7
  3. Joshua 22:10-34
  4. Judges 12:1-6
  5. 2 Kings 2:8, 14
  6. 2 Kings 5:10
  7. 2 Kings 6:1-7
  8. Matthew 3:5-6; Mark 1:5; Luke 3:3; John 1:28
  9. John 1:29-36