THE RIVER JORDAN
By George Card
Also called Esh-sharia is and was an extremely important geographical part of the land of Israel.
It has its beginning at the foot of Mount Hermon, which is covered with snow all year round. The melted snow flows south of Baalbek making four streams, whose union creates the river Jordan.
The first stream is called the Nahr Banias, which is five and a half miles long. At the beginning of this stream there is a cave where in times past a cult to Pan the Greek god of nature flourished.
The second is called the Ain Leddan (The spring of Dan) this is the shortest, but also the strongest of the streams.
The third is called the Nahr hasbani which runs for about twenty four miles before merging into the Jordan.
The fourth is called the Nahr Bareighit (The flea river).
The Jordan runs for a length of less than 200 miles long. It follows a snake like configuration except in the upper part which has been recently canalized and straightened.
The southern part floods yearly and creates a jungle called the Zor in which an abundance of plants and wild animals exist.
Along its course it enters lake Huleh which now is extremely small, because it has been drained. It continues down and enters the Lake of Galilee it continues its course, being fed along the way by streams and springs until it reaches the dead sea, where it ends its course.
Water always bring people and this river was no exception. Many towns sprang next to this river, some of them mentioned in the Bible, like Capernaum, Chorazin and many others.
The farmers always cultivated as close to its banks as possible.
Many Biblical events have occurred on this river.
Lot chose this area, when he separated from Abraham. Jacob crossed it going to and coming from Padam Aram.
After wandering in the desert for forty years the children of Israel, needed to cross it in order to conquer the land. Joshua ordered the priests who carried the Ark of God to step into it, and God miraculously stopped its flow.
The tribe of Reuben and Gad and the Half tribe of Manasseh occupied the eastern part, while the rest of the tribes the western side.
This river was the scene for many other events too numerous to mention. Here Elijah and Elisha roamed. Here Naaman the leper washed to become free of his leprosy, and here the Kings fought many of their battles
The Gospel of John opens its story with John the baptist preaching and baptizing people in its currents.
Thanks to government intervention and its nature it has escaped the pollution that affects other rivers in the world.
For the Christian The Jordan is not just a river but has become a symbol of passage from this life into the eternal abode of heaven. The passage way into the land of milk and honey. A multitude of songs, have helped to make it famous.