Jordan River
Sacred to Christianity

The Jordan River is today and has been since ancient times the main river in Israel. Called Nahar HaYarden in Hebrew it flows north to south through the Jordan Valley and is part of the Syrian-African Rift that continues to the Red Sea in the south.

I remember my reaction when I first saw this world renowned River, and then through the years watched the tourists reacting the same way. We all thought about the Amazon or the Mississippi Rivers and then saw a small and narrow river. But no other river is as sacred as this one.

The Banias River on Mt Hermon is the main tributary of the Jordan

The Jordan is born in the north of Israel

The River Jordan, as it is called sometimes, is born from a few tributaries in the north of Israel. They are; the Banias River, flowing direct from the slopes of Mount Hermon and the Banias Springs; the Hasbani that flows from Lebanon; the Dan River born at the slopes of the Hermon and the Iyon River coming from Lebanon.

It runs for about 250 km or 156 miles and flows into the Dead Sea. The name Yarden in Hebrew comes from the root “Yarod” meaning “to descend”

After it runs from Banias to the south it drops dramatically into the swampy Hula Valley then another big drop in altitude dropping into the Sea of Galilee which is the main provider of fresh water for the State of Israel, it then “flows out” of the Kineret and continues its course to the Dead Sea, depositing an average of 883 cubic feet per second. There are two more tributaries from the east called the Yarmouk River and the Jabbok River during its course.

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The River Jordan enters and exits the Sea of Galilee

A sacred site for Christianity

The Jordan together with the Kineret has been a fishing venue for generations and an important branch of the local’s economy. Many of Jesus Disciples were fishermen. The site is linked to Christianity since its beginnings.

Jesus was baptized on the Jordan River and must of his preaching were on or around the river and the lake. Today pilgrims on their Holy land Tour go to Yardenit on the south of the Kineret for baptism. I explain in details on our Yardenit Page.

The Old Testament of the Bible mentions the Jordan River several times. From the Book of Genesis to the Book of Prophets, it has always been viewed as a symbol of fertility, rebirth and renewal.

On its banks Joshua gathered the Israelite to prepare them to cross the river as they entered the Promised Land. On the River Jordan Elisha the prophet, healed Naaman of leprosy by having him bathe in its waters.

It is an immense experience to dip into the waters of a river that saw through its waters the whole history of this Sacred Land.

Yardenit is a Baptism site on the Jordan River south of Kineret


The River Jordan is a beautiful sightseeing place where locals and tourist alike like to spend their ecology oriented vacations.

Near the Hula valley is the place where you may experience the best Bird Watching in the whole country. Birds cross through Israel on their way from Africa to Europe in spring and back from Europe to Africa during fall.

I have no explanation to the phenomenon, but can attest to millions of birds overflowing the country and resting in the Hula valley every year.

I am sure they love the Holy Land and feel welcome here. While visiting Israel do not miss this amazing adventure of Bird Watching.

The river is bordered with trees and shrubs like Tamarisk, Angus Castus, Apple of Sodom and rhododendron. Its waters contain twenty two species of various fish and wild animals, vipers, jackals, wild boars, ibexes, scorpions, porcupines, and panthers.

A beautiful image of the Jordan River

Hamobil Haartzi

In 1964, Israel began the project of the”Hamobil Haartzi”, translated to English the National Transporter that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee, the Yamouk River and the Jordan for the consumption of the country.

But Israel does not rely on the river only. It has developed many techniques including desalinization to cope with the growing demands of this thriving country.

Image Credits:
jordan river by chmee 2
yardenit by deror avi
banias by matania
kineret by jfreeman

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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