Jordan River

The Jordan is not a massive river. Its width averages about 100 feet and its depth ranges from three to 10 feet. But it is a living river, home to 30 species of fish, 16 of which are unique to the Jordan.

For Christians, its waters are considered life-giving, for it was in this river that Jesus was baptized by John. In some Eastern churches, the waters of a baptismal font can be blessed simply by pouring a small amount of Jordan River water into it.

Small streams in the north flow southward and finally, about 10 miles above the Sea of Galilee, converge to form the Jordan River. It then flows into the Sea of Galilee. At the southern and of that sea, it becomes a river again until, after lazily winding and twisting a course of 223 miles through a valley made fertile by its waters, it ends in the Dead Sea.

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The Jordan River, for most of its course, constitutes the eastern boundary of Israel. In the days of Moses, it was where they crossed the Jordan that the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

The Jordan River is still a boundary today: Its east bank is Jordan and its west bank is Israel. (Much of today’s conflict has to do with the area in the south where part of the territory on the West Band has been turned over to the Palestinians.)

Today’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord is the last day of the Christmas season.

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