The Jordan: Biography of a River

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The Jordan River is only 250 kilometers long from beginning to end, with two lakes and a very modest volume of water, nearly all of which is utilized for agriculture. Yet the Jordan is much more than this. Its spiritual and symbolic significance has made it holy to billions of people around the globe. Most of them have never seen the river, but consider crossing the Jordan a journey brimming with meaning. It is the first step toward entering the Promised Land. It is the passage to a better place: the land reserved for those who enjoy the bounty of the Lord. The challenge in crossing the Jordan River has never been physical. Even in the days when water from all its sources flowed vigorously between its banks.

The patriarch Jacob, the tribes of Israel, and the prophets Elijah and Elisha all crossed the Jordan River thanks to divine intervention. Jacob was stricken with fear when he crossed the river from Haran to meet his older brother Esau. The people of Israel had to wander in the desert for 40 years before they were considered worthy of crossing the Jordan River.

Once the State of Israel came into being, the Jordan River became a border. “Between the Jordan and the sea,” became a term of reference. And as a border, the Jordan was thunderous. Immediately after the Six Day War, when the Golan Heights were taken by Israel and the guns across the Jordan River were silenced, a spate of Israeli popular songs turned the Jordan River into a symbol of these new times. Another war, the War of Attrition, was still to be fought along the river after that, but ever since the signing of the peace agreement with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1994, the Jordan has become a river of peace and the rediscovery of this wonderful place that had been out of bounds for nearly six decades commenced.

More songs have been written about the Jordan than any other river on the planet, more books have been published about it than any other river in the world, and more adventurers have tried to uncover its secrets and to understand its nature than any other river known to man.

The ERETZ Special issue on the Jordan River takes a trip down the river, from its billowing beginning in the shadow of Mount Hermon to its end in the receding and salty waters of the Dead Sea.

Publication Date: July 2017

Size: 27 X 21 cm
Soft cover
Airmail delivery from Israel.