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Biblical Significance of the Jordan River

Geographical Information

The name Jordan means "flowing downward" or "the descender" a perfect name for Palestine's longest river, the Jordan River. The Jordan River starts in the north at Mount Hermon and flows south through Lake Huleh, the Sea of Galilee, and the tropical Jordan valley, before emptying into the Dead Sea.

The Jordan descends 689 feet from Lake Huleh to the Sea of Galilee and then another 610 feet from Galilee to the Dead Sea. The straight distance of the river culminates to about 70 miles, but if its curves were included, the river covers about 200 miles of distance. The width of the Jordan fluctuates from 90 to 100 feet, while the depth varies from three to ten feet.

Four streams contribute to the source of the Jordan. These streams include: Nahr Banias and Nahr el-Leddan from the eastern side of Mount Hermon and Nahr Hasbani and Nahr Bareighit from the western side of Hermon.

Historical and Biblical Significance

The Jordan River holds a number of biblical significances. Following Moses' death, as Joshua led the Israelites across the river, God produced dry land when the priests carrying the Ark of Covenant stepped into the water.

The Jordan is also known as the place where Prophet Elisha performed his miracles. In an instance, in one miraculous event, Elisha told the Syrian general Naaman to wash in the Jordan, seven times to cure his leprosy. When Naaman obeyed, God cured his illness.

For the Christians, the Jordan River is the place where John the Baptist preached and baptized his followers. The Jordan is considered holy for the Christians because it's the river where John baptized Jesus as He started his public ministry.

Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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