The River Jordan is one of the world’s most sacred rivers because of its Biblical background. This river originates from the slopes of Mount Hermon, feeds Lake Hula (now extinct), the Sea of Galilee, and ends in the Dead Sea. Its length is 230 kilometers or 143 miles. When Abraham and Lot separated, Lot selected the valley of Jordan because it was fertile (Gen 13:10). The sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were here. The Lord later destroyed those sinful cities (Gen 19:1-29).
Prophet Elisha told Naaman the Syrian to wash seven times in the Jordan for his healing (2 Kgs 5:10).
The significance for John to select Jordan for repentance was also because it was the entry point for the Israelites into the promised land under the leadership of Joshua after the 40 years of wanderings in the desert (Josh 3:14-17). It was a miraculous crossing with the Ark of the Covenant under the guidance and protection of God.
John baptized Jesus in River Jordan when the Holy Spirit came on Jesus. Jesus and his disciples also used this river for baptism. Thus, River Jordan became a holy place for spiritual healing and life renewal.
RIVER CROSSING AT JORDAN
The Israelites had crossed River Jordan when they had entered the promised land under the leadership of Joshua. Every entry through water was a washing up of the old sinful life and entering a spiritual renewal. Flood during the time of Noah and crossing the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses were the previous experiences of the people giving up the old and taking up a renewed life.
The River Jordan has similarity to our lives. The origin of the river is from the snow that melts on the top of Mount Hermon and falls to the bottom through the cracks of the mountain. Our life also originates from God, who is in heaven. The water comes out as spring from the “bottomless pit” at the basin of the mountain. Traditionally, that cave was leading to Hades. Like this spring, our life also starts in original sin. The spring becomes big with the additional flow of water from the hills on both sides. On its way, the river makes the soil fertile for farming and supports the lives of fishes in the river and lakes. We also receive and give riches on our flow of life. God sanctified the river with the baptism of Jesus and with the presence of Jesus throughout the Lake of Galilee. This water thus cleanses those who use it with faith. The Jordan river finally ends in the Dead Sea where water evaporates and the rest settles with the salt of the Dead Sea. The water in the Dead Sea cannot support any type of life and hence got its name. At the end of our lives, Jesus will separate the good from the evil and lead the righteous to heaven.