Jordan River – Israel

Formed from springs and run-off waters at the base of Mount Hermon, the Jordan River flows along the Syro-African Rift. 

The elevation at the foot of Mount Hermon is 250 feet above sea level. By the time it reaches the Sea of Galilee, it reaches 600 feet below sea level. From there, it winds some 104 miles (or 65 miles as the crow flies) until it reaches the Dead Sea 1290 feet below sea level. This is the lowest spot on earth.

As the Jordan descends toward the Dead Sea, both the Yarmuk River and the Jabbok River flow into it. Scripture refers to the plain through which the Jordan flows as “The Plain” (Joshua 2: 11) or the “Plain of Jordan” (I Kings 7: 46). The southern portion of this plain is referred to as the “Plain of Moab” (Numbers 21: 1) or the Plains of Jericho (Joshua 4: 13). Incidentally, Sodom and Gomorrah would have been located in this vicinity (Genesis 19: 27 – 29), most likely just east of the Dead Sea.

This plain is agriculturally rich and is the Land of Promise as spoken of in Holy Writ (Joshua 3 – 4; Jeremiah 49: 19).

Scriptural Significance

Of course the Jordan River itself appears in the Bible:

  • It was crossed through a miracle every bit as significant as that involving the Red Sea (Joshua 3: 14 – 17)
  • It divided the Tribes of Israel settling in the east from those settling in the west (Judges 5: 17)
  • Elijah divided its waters with his mantle (II Kings 2: 8) and then Elisha followed suit (2 Kings 2: 13 – 14)
  • Naaman, the leper in charge of Syria’s armies, cleansed himself in the Jordan and was cured by God (2 Kings 5: 14)
  • John the Baptist’s ministry took place here (Matthew 3: 5 ff; Mark 1: 5 ff) The Lord Himself was baptized by John in the Jordan near Bethabara (John 1:28 – 33)