Jordan River
Dictionary of Bible Names

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Jordan River
Bible Meaning: Descender
Strong's Concordance #H3383

At least four water sources, arising at the foothills of Mount Hermon, come together to form the Jordan River. In modern times it begins just south of the ancient Israelite city of Dan where the Hasbani and Dan Rivers meet.

The straight-line distance between the start of the Jordan to the Sea of Galilee is about 21 miles (33.7 kilometers). From the southern end of Galilee, where the river continues it southward journey, to where it enters the Dead Sea, is a straight line distance of about 65.7 miles (105.7 kilometers). Because of its many twists and turns, however, the actual course is much longer.

The river is the longest and most important one of Canaan. Running north to south, it delineated the boundary between the western and eastern lands given by God to Israel.

Jordan River miracles!

In 1405 B.C., under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites crossed the Jordan en masse on dry ground miraculously provided by God (Joshua 3)! They then, after keeping the Passover, initiated a series of battles that lasted seven years in order to claim their land inheritance.

Elijah, with Elisha following him, miraculously parted the water and crossed over it before a chariot of fire took him to a safe place (2Kings 2).

Naaman the Syrian, who had leprosy, was healed after he followed Elisha's instructions to wash in the river (2Kings 5). A short time later, the prophet caused a lost ax head to float on the water (2Kings 6).

Northern Jordan River Map

New Testament events

The Jordan River is the location where John the Baptist began his ministry of calling the people to repent of their sins (Matthew 3:5).

John, after preaching for six months, baptized Jesus at Bethabara which is located on the eastern side of the river (John 1:28 - 34, Luke 4:1).

Important verses

Deuteronomy 9:1
Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven . . .

Joshua 3:11, 13
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan . . .

Southern Jordan River Map

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan . . . (and it) shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above: and they shall stand upon an heap.

Luke 3:1 - 3
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea . . . Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

And he (John the Baptist) came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins . . .

Luke 4:1 - 2
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil.

John 3:26
And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

John 10:37 - 40
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan (River) into the place where John at first baptized: and there he (Jesus) abode.

Additional Studies


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Series Notes
Scripture quotes are taken from
the King James translation.



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