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) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = Jordan River , map = JordanRiver en.svg , map_size = , map_caption = The Jordan River runs along the border between Jordan, the Palestinian West Bank, Israel and southwestern Syria. , pushpin_map = , pushpin_map_size = , pushpin_map_caption= , subdivision_type1 = Country , subdivision_name1 =
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
,
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
,
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, subdivision_type2 = , subdivision_name2 = , subdivision_type3 = Region , subdivision_name3 =
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
, Eastern Mediterranean littoral , subdivision_type4 = District , subdivision_name4 =
Galilee Galilee (; he, הַגָּלִיל, ha-galil; ar, الجليل, al-jalīl) is a region located in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee (, ; , ) and Lower Galil ...

Galilee
, subdivision_type5 = , subdivision_name5 = , length = , discharge1_location=
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
, Jordan Rift Valley , source1 = , source1_location = Anti-Lebanon Mountain Range at
Mount Hermon Mount Hermon ( ar, جبل الشيخ or جبل حرمون / ALA-LC: ''Jabal al-Shaykh'' ("Mountain of the Sheikh") or ''Jabal Haramun''; he, הַר חֶרְמוֹן, ''Har Hermon'') is a mountain, mountain cluster constituting the southern e ...
,
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region ...
, source1_coordinates= , source1_elevation = , mouth =
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
, mouth_elevation = , basin_size = , tributaries_left =
Banias River
Banias River
,
Dan River The Dan River flows in the U.S. states of North Carolina and Virginia. It rises in Patrick County, Virginia, and crosses the state border into Stokes County, North Carolina. It then flows into Rockingham County, North Carolina, Rockingham Coun ...
,
Yarmouk River The Yarmuk River, sometimes spelled Yarmouk ( ar, نهر اليرموك, , or , , also ''Sheriat el-Mandur''; , ; Ancient Greek, Greek: Ἱερομύκης, ; la, Hieromyces or ''Heromicas''), is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It run ...
,
Zarqa River The Zarqa River ( ar, نهر الزرقاء, ''Nahr az-Zarqāʾ'', lit. "the River of Zarqa, the Blue ity; Hebrew language, Hebrew: נַחַל יַבּוֹק, ''River Jabbok'') is the second largest tributary of the lower Jordan River, after t ...
, tributaries_right = Hasbani or Snir River, Iyyon Stream The Jordan River or River Jordan ( ar, نَهْر الْأُرْدُنّ, ''Nahr al-Urdunn'', he, נְהַר הַיַּרְדֵּן, ''Nahar ha-Yarden''; syc, ܢܗܪܐ ܕܝܘܪܕܢܢ), also known as ''Nahr Al Sharieat'' ( ar, نهر الشريعة), is a river in the
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
that flows roughly north to south through the
Sea of Galilee The Sea of Galilee ( he, יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic Judaeo-Aramaic languages represent a group of Hebrew-influenced Aramaic and Neo-Aramaic languages The Neo-Aramaic or Modern Aramaic languages are varieties of Aramaic ...

Sea of Galilee
(Hebrew: כנרת Kinneret, Arabic: Bohayrat Tabaraya, meaning Lake of Tiberias) and on to the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
.
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
and the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region ...
border the river to the east, while the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
lie to its west. Both Jordan and the West Bank take their names from the river. The river holds major significance in
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
and
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
. According to the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
, the Israelites crossed it into the
Promised Land The Promised Land ( he, הארץ המובטחת, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt:litte ...
and
Jesus of Nazareth Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
was baptized
was baptized
by
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
in it.


Geography

The Jordan River has an upper course from its sources to the Sea of Galilee, and a lower course south of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea. In traditional terminology, the upper course (or most of it) is commonly referred to as passing through the "
Hula Valley The Hula Valley ( he, עמק החולה, Romanization of Hebrew, translit. ''Emek Ha-Ḥula''; also transliterated as Huleh Valley, ar, سهل الحولة) is an agriculture, agricultural region in northern Israel with abundant fresh water, w ...

Hula Valley
", as opposed to "Upper Jordan Valley"; the Sea of Galilee through which the river passes is a separate entity; and the term
Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley ( ar, غور الأردن, ''Ghor al-Urdun''; he, עֵמֶק הַיַרְדֵּן, ''Emek HaYarden'') forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. Unlike most other river valleys, the term "Jordan Valley" often applies just to ...
is reserved for the lower course, fed by the Yarmouk and Zarqa Rivers. Over its upper course (fed by the Hasbani River, Banias River, Dan River, and the Iyyon Stream), the river drops rapidly in a run to the once large and swampy
Lake Hula A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in lan ...

Lake Hula
, which is slightly above
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
. Exiting the now much-diminished lake, it goes through an even steeper drop over the down to the Sea of Galilee, which it enters at its northern end. The Jordan deposits much of the silt it is carrying within the lake, which it leaves again near its southern tip at
Degania Dam The Degania Dam is a small barrage across the Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image ...
. At that point, the river is situated about 210 metres below sea level. The last -long section follows what is commonly termed the "Jordan Valley", which has less
gradient In vector calculus Vector calculus, or vector analysis, is concerned with differentiation Differentiation may refer to: Business * Differentiation (economics), the process of making a product different from other similar products * Prod ...
(the total drop is another 210 metres) so that the river
meander A meander is one of a series of regular sinuous curves in the channel of a river or other watercourse. It is produced as a watercourse the s of an outer, concave bank () and deposits sediments on an inner, convex bank which is typically a . Th ...

meander
s before entering the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
, a terminal lake about 422 metres below sea level with no outlet. Two major
tributaries A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...
enter from the east during this last section: the
Yarmouk River The Yarmuk River, sometimes spelled Yarmouk ( ar, نهر اليرموك, , or , , also ''Sheriat el-Mandur''; , ; Ancient Greek, Greek: Ἱερομύκης, ; la, Hieromyces or ''Heromicas''), is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It run ...
and
Zarqa River The Zarqa River ( ar, نهر الزرقاء, ''Nahr az-Zarqāʾ'', lit. "the River of Zarqa, the Blue ity; Hebrew language, Hebrew: נַחַל יַבּוֹק, ''River Jabbok'') is the second largest tributary of the lower Jordan River, after t ...
. Its section north of the Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel and forms the western boundary of the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region ...
. South of the lake, it forms the border between the Kingdom of Jordan (to the east), and Israel (to the west).


Tributaries

The streams coming together to create the River Jordan in its upper basin are, west to east: * Iyyon (Hebrew: עיון ''Iyyon''), Arabic name: Ajoun stream, but دردره ''Dardara'' for the uppermost course and براغيث ''Bareighith'' or ''Beregeith'' for the rest of its course, a stream which flows from in southern Lebanon. *
Hasbani The Hasbani River ( ar, الحاصباني / ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, the representation of text in other writing system A writing system is a method of visu ...
(Arabic: الحاصباني ''Hasbani'', Hebrew: either שניר ''Snir'' or ''Hatzbani''), a stream which flows from the north-western foot of Mount Hermon in Lebanon, with a flow of 118 million m3 annually. * Dan (Arabic: اللدان ''Leddan'' or ''Liddan'', Hebrew: דן ''Dan''), the largest among the Jordan's upper course tributaries with c. 240-252 million cubic metres per year, about twice as much as the Hasbani or the Banias, a stream whose source is also at the base of Mount Hermon.Jordan River
Carta Jerusalem, accessed 82020
*
Banias Banias ( ar, بانياس الحولة; he, בניאס) is an ancient site that developed around a spring once associated with the Greek god . It is located at the foot of , north of the . The spring is the source of the , one of the main trib ...
(Arabic: بانياس ''Banias'', Hebrew: either ''Banias'' or חרמון ''Hermon''), a stream arising from a spring at
Banias Banias ( ar, بانياس الحولة; he, בניאס) is an ancient site that developed around a spring once associated with the Greek god . It is located at the foot of , north of the . The spring is the source of the , one of the main trib ...

Banias
at the foot of
Mount Hermon Mount Hermon ( ar, جبل الشيخ or جبل حرمون / ALA-LC: ''Jabal al-Shaykh'' ("Mountain of the Sheikh") or ''Jabal Haramun''; he, הַר חֶרְמוֹן, ''Har Hermon'') is a mountain, mountain cluster constituting the southern e ...
, with a flow of 106 million m3 annually, and **Nahal Sion or Nahal Assal (Hebrew) / Wadi el-'Asl or Assal (Arabic) as its major tributary. South of the
Sea of Galilee The Sea of Galilee ( he, יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic Judaeo-Aramaic languages represent a group of Hebrew-influenced Aramaic and Neo-Aramaic languages The Neo-Aramaic or Modern Aramaic languages are varieties of Aramaic ...

Sea of Galilee
, the Jordan River receives the waters of further tributaries, the main ones, both coming from the east (Jordan), being * Yarmouk, the largest tributary of the lower course of the River Jordan, which forms the border between Syria and Jordan and then Jordan and IsraelThe
Food and Agriculture Organization The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency ...
(FAO)] of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations

''Jordan Basin''
based on 2009 "Water Report 34", accessed 18 April 2020
Gafny, S. ''et al.'' (2010)
Map of the Lower Jordan River
retrieved 14 April 2020
*
Zarqa Zarqa ( ar, الزرقاء) is the capital of Zarqa Governorate Zarqa Governorate ( ar, محافظة الزرقاء ''Muħāfazat az-Zarqāʔ'', local dialects ''ez-Zergā'' or ''ez-Zer'a'') is the third largest governorate in Jordan Jordan ...
, the second-largest tributary of the lower Jordan River. Smaller tributaries or "side wadis" / "side streams" in this segment are, north to south
- from the east (6–10 in total) * Wadi al-'Arab * Wadi Ziqlab * * Wadi Kafranja or Kufrinjah passing near
Ajloun Ajloun ( ar, عجلون, ''‘Ajlūn''), also spelled Ajlun, is the capital town of the Ajloun Governorate Ajloun Governorate (alternative spelling Ajlun Governorate) ( ar, محافظة عجلون) is one of the Governorates of Jordan, governora ...

Ajloun
* Wadi Rajib, the last before Wadi Zarqa * Wadi Nimrin - from the west * Nahal Yavne'el * Nahal Tavor (Tabor Stream) * Nahal Yissakhar ** Nahal Harod * Nahal Bezeq, on the border between Israel and the West Bank, between
Mount Gilboa Mount Gilboa ( he, הַר הַגִּלְבֹּעַ, הר הגלבוע, ''Har HaGilboa''; ar, جبل فقوعة, sometimes called the Mountains of Gelboe, is a mountain range overlooking the Jezreel Valley The Jezreel Valley (from the he, ע ...
and the
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
Mountains * Wadi Malih/Milkha from the Samaria Mountains *
Wadi al-Far'a Wadi al-Far'a ( ar, وادي الفارعة) is a Palestinian village in the Tubas Governorate The Tubas Governorate ( ar, محافظة طوباس, Muḥāfaẓat Ṭūbās; he, נפת טובאס, Nafat Ŧubas) is an administrative district of ...
coming from the
Nablus Nablus ( ; ar, نابلس, Nābulus ; he, שכם, Šəḵem, Biblical ''Shechem'', ISO 259-3 ''Škem''; el, Νεάπολις, Νeápolis) is a city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem (approximately by road), with a ...

Nablus
area * (Arabic) or Nahal Yitav (Hebrew) *
Wadi Qelt, Wadi Qelt in Wadi Qelt Image:Nahal prat2.jpg, Nahal Prat stream Wadi Qelt ( ar, وادي القلط‎; Qelt is also spelled Qilt and Kelt, sometimes with the Arabic article, el- or al-), in Hebrew Nahal Prat ( he, נחל פרת), formerly Na ...
coming down from the
Judean mountains The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills ( he, הרי יהודה ''Harei Yehuda'', ar, جبال الخليل ''Jibal Al Khalil'' (lit. "Hebron Mountains")), is a mountain range in Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْ ...

Judean mountains
and passing through
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho


Etymology

Several hypotheses for the origin of most of the river's names in modern languages (e.g., Jordan, Yarden, Urdunn), one is that it comes from Semitic 'Yard, on' 'flow down' <√ירד reflecting the river's declivity, possibly appearing also in other river names in the region such as Yarkon and Yarmouk, or it may be related to the
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
loanword 'yǝʾor' ('big river', the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nub ...

Nile
). According to this hypothesis, "Den" might be linked to the
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
word dannum for "powerful". Cognates of the word are found in
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
,
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
, Mandaic, and other
Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...

Semitic languages
. The first recorded use of the name appears as ''Yārdon'' in Anastasi I, an ancient Egyptian
papyrus Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper that was used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, ''Cyperus papyrus'', a wetland sedge. ''Papyrus'' (plural: ''papyri'') can also refer to a do ...

papyrus
that probably dates to the time of
Rameses II Ramesses II (; variously also spelled Rameses or Ramses, ' Ra is the one who bore him' or 'born of Ra', grc-koi, Ῥαμέσσης, Rhaméssēs, – July or August 1213; reigned 1279–1213 BC), also known as Ramesses the Great, was the thi ...
. Early Arab chronicles referred to the river as ''Al-Urdunn''. In Mandaic, the etymologically related term ''yardna'' ( myz, ࡉࡀࡓࡃࡍࡀ) can refer not only to the Jordan River, but also any other body of flowing water that can be used for Mandaean baptismal rituals ('' masbuta''). After the Crusades, the Arabic name ''Nahr Al Sharieat'' ( ar, نهر الشريعة), literally "the watering place" began to be used, and was recorded by medieval geographers such as
Abu'l-Fida Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī b. Maḥmūd b. Muḥammad b. ʿUmar b. Shāhanshāh b. Ayyūb b. Shādī b. Marwān ( ar, إسماعيل بن علي بن محمود بن محمد بن عمر بن شاهنشاه بن أيوب بن شادي بن مروان) ...
and Al-Dimashqi. The name was shown in various forms on most notable 19th century maps of the region, and was described by Edward Robinson in his ''
Biblical Researches in Palestine ''Biblical researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea'' (1841 edition), also ''Biblical Researches in Palestine and the Adjacent Regions'' (1856 edition), was a Travelogues of Ottoman Palestine, travelogue of 19th-century Palestine an ...
''. Although historical sources do not appear to make this distinction, it is described in some modern sources as the name for the part of the river before it flows into
Lake Tiberias The Sea of Galilee ( he, יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic: יַמּא דטבריא, גִּנֵּיסַר, ar, بحيرة طبريا), also called Lake Tiberias, Kinneret or Kinnereth, is a freshwater Fresh water (or freshwater) is ...
.


History


19th century

In the 19th century the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were explored by boat primarily by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, and John MacGregor in 1869. The full text of W. F. Lynch's 1849 book '' Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea'' is available online.


20th century

In 1964, Israel began operating a pumping station that diverts water from the Sea of Galilee to the
National Water Carrier 250px, Israel.html"_;"title="Lake_Kinneret,_Israel">Lake_Kinneret,_Israel_ image:National_Water_Carrier_of_Israel_-en.svg.html" ;"title="Israel_.html" ;"title="Israel.html" ;"title="Lake Kinneret, Lake_Kinneret,_Israel_">Israel.html"_;"title="La ...

National Water Carrier
. Also in 1964, Jordan constructed a
channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...
that diverted water from the
Yarmouk River The Yarmuk River, sometimes spelled Yarmouk ( ar, نهر اليرموك, , or , , also ''Sheriat el-Mandur''; , ; Ancient Greek, Greek: Ἱερομύκης, ; la, Hieromyces or ''Heromicas''), is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It run ...
, a main tributary of the Jordan River, to the East Ghor Canal. Syria has also built reservoirs that catch the Yarmouk's waters. Environmentalists blame
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
for extensive damage to the Jordan River ecosystem. In modern times, the waters are 70% to 90% used for human purposes and the flow is greatly reduced. Because of this and the high evaporation rate of the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
, as well as industrial extraction of salts through evaporation ponds, the Dead Sea is rapidly shrinking.


Main environmental issues


Reduction of water flow

The flow rate of the Jordan River once was 1.3 billion cubic metres per year; as of 2010, just 20 to 30 million cubic metres per year flow into the Dead Sea.


Pollution

A small section of the northernmost portion of the Lower Jordan, the first ca. below the Sea of Galilee, has been kept pristine for baptism and local tourism. Most polluted is the 100-kilometre downstream stretch—a meandering stream from above the confluence with the Yarmouk to the
Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a s ...

Dead Sea
. Environmentalists say the practice of letting sewage and brackish water flow into the river has almost destroyed its
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
. Rescuing the Jordan could take decades, according to environmentalists. In 2007, FoEME named the Jordan River as one of the world's 100 most endangered ecological sites, due in part to lack of cooperation between Israel and neighboring Arab states.


Roads, border crossings, bridges


Roads

Route 90, part of which is named after Rehavam Zeevi, connects the northern and southern tips of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and parallels the Jordan River on the western side.


Border crossings (open bridges)

There are two border crossings between Israel and Jordan which cross the river over bridges. The northern one, Jordan River Crossing or Sheikh Hussein Bridge is near
Beit She'an Beit She'an ( he, בֵּית שְׁאָן '), also known as Beisan ( ar, بيسان ), and historically known as Scythopolis (''Σκυθόπολις'' in Ancient Greek) is a city in the Northern District (Israel), Northern District of Israel, wh ...

Beit She'an
; the southern one,
Allenby Bridge The Allenby Bridge (English name; he, גשר אלנבי ''Gesher Allenby''), known officially in Jordan as the King Hussein Bridge ( ar, جسر الملك حسين ''Jisr al-Malek Hussein''), and also called Al- Karameh Bridge by Palestinian Arabs ...

Allenby Bridge
(also King Hussein Bridge), is near
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
.


Bridges (historical; modern - open and closed)

North to south: *
Daughters of Jacob Bridge File:Jacob's Bridge Wellcome L0033985.jpg, Daughters of Jacob Bridge 1799, from the north, with the Mamluk Khan to the left Jacob's Ford is a ford on the upper Jordan River where a number of bridges were built throughout history, giving rise to th ...
(
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
: Gesher Bnot Ya'akov, "Daughters of Jacob Bridge") is the most famous one within Israel * at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee; allows access to the central Golan Heights, was crucial in the
1967 Events January * January 1 – Canada begins a year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Confederation, featuring the Expo 67 World's Fair. * January 4 – The Doors release their début album ''The Doors ( ...
and 1973 wars *
Al-Sinnabra Al-Sinnabra or Sinn en-Nabra, is the Arabic language, Arabic Place names of Palestine, place name for a historic site on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee in modern-day Israel. The ancient site lay on a spur from the hills that close the sout ...
, at the spot where the river used to exit the Sea of Galilee in the past; few remains excavated by archaeologists * Jisr el-Majami' north of ; closed * Damiya or Adam Bridge halfway between Jericho and Beit She'an; closed * King Abdullah Bridge south of the Allenby Bridge; closed.


Importance as a water source

Until the first decade of the 21st century, the waters of the Jordan River had been the largest water resource for Israel; lately, desalinated sea water from the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
has taken over this role. Israel's
National Water Carrier 250px, Israel.html"_;"title="Lake_Kinneret,_Israel">Lake_Kinneret,_Israel_ image:National_Water_Carrier_of_Israel_-en.svg.html" ;"title="Israel_.html" ;"title="Israel.html" ;"title="Lake Kinneret, Lake_Kinneret,_Israel_">Israel.html"_;"title="La ...
, completed in 1964, has delivered water from the Sea of Galilee to the Israeli coastal plain for over four decades, until prolonged drought led to abandoning this solution in favour of desalination.
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...
receives of water from the river, a quantity which is regulated by the 1994
peace treaty A peace treaty is an agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceab ...
with Israel. In the past, one of the main water resources in Jordan was the Jordan River, with a flow of 1.3 billion m3 per year (BCM/yr). However, after Israel built the National Water Carrier in 1953 and diverted water from Lake Tiberias to Israel's coastal plains and southern desert, the flow of the Lower Jordan River dropped significantly. The 50 MCM/yr that Israel provides from Lake Tiberias as part of the 1994 peace treaty was meant to compensate for this loss. A 2010 study found that the Lower Jordan River has been reduced to 2% of its historic flow. Water quality has also deteriorated sharply, with high levels of salinity and pollution from agricultural fertilizer and untreated wastewater upstream in Israel and the West Bank. Conflict about the waters of the Jordan River was a contributing factor to the
Six-Day War The Six-Day War (; ar, النكسة, translit=an-Naksah, lit=The Setback or ), also known as the June War, the 1967 Arab–Israeli War or the Third Arab–Israeli War, was an armed conflict fought from 5 to 10 June 1967 between Israel and a ...
when, starting in 1965,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
attempted to divert some of its headwaters in collaboration with Lebanon and Jordan.Mehr, Farhang, "The politics of water," in Antonino Zichichi, Richard C. Ragaini, eds., ''International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies'', 30th session, Erice, Italy, 18–26 August 2003, Ettore Majorana International Centre for Scientific Culture, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pie. Ltd., 2004, p. 258, 259 The diversion works would have reduced the water availability for Israel's carrier by about 35%, and Israel's overall water supply by about 11%.


Religious significance


Hebrew Bible

In the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites ...

Hebrew Bible
the Jordan is referred to as the source of fertility of a large plain ("Kikkar ha-Yarden"), said to be watered like "the garden of the LORD" (
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...

Genesis
). There is no regular description of the Jordan in the Bible; only scattered and indefinite references to it are given.
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...

Jacob
crossed it and its tributary, the
Jabbok The Zarqa River ( ar, نهر الزرقاء, ''Nahr az-Zarqāʾ'', lit. "the River of the Blue .html" ;"title="ity">ity; Hebrew language">Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasi ...

Jabbok
(the modern Al-Zarqa), on his way back from
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical c ...
(, ). It is noted as the line of demarcation between the "two tribes and the half tribe" settled to the east (
Numbers A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduc ...
) and the "nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh" that, led by
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
, settled to the west (, passim). Opposite
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
, it was called "the Jordan of Jericho" (; ). The Jordan has a number of fords, and one of them is famous as the place where many Ephraimites were slain by Jephthah (
Judges A judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. ...
). It seems that these are the same fords mentioned as being near Beth-barah, where Gideon lay in wait for the
Midian Midian (; he, מִדְיָן ''Mīḏəyān'' ; ar, مَدْيَن, Madyan; grc-gre, Μαδιάμ, ''Madiam'') is a geographical place mentioned in the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, cano ...

Midian
ites (). In the plain of the Jordan, between and Zarthan, is the clay ground where Solomon had his brass-foundries (Books of Kings, 1 Kings ). In the Jordan valley is portrayed as a woodland region. Biblical commentator Albert Barnes (theologian), Albert Barnes suggested that "trees were rare in most parts of Palestine, but plentiful in the Jordan Valley". In biblical history, the Jordan appears as the scene of several miracles, the first taking place when the Jordan, near Jericho, was crossed by the Israelites under Joshua (). Later the two tribes and the half tribe that settled east of the Jordan built a large altar on its banks as "a witness" between them and the other tribes (, , et seq.). The Jordan was crossed by Elijah and Elisha on dry ground (, ). The prophet and wonder-worker Elisha performed two miracles at the Jordan: he healed Naaman's leprosy by having him bathe in its waters (), and he made an axe head lost by one of the "children of the prophets" float, by throwing a piece of wood into the water (). Yom HaAliyah (Aliyah Day, he, יום העלייה) is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the tenth of the Hebrew month of Nisan to commemorate the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the Land of Israel while carrying the Ark of the Covenant as recorded in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Joshua.


New Testament

The New Testament states that
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
baptised unto repentance in the Jordan (Matthew 3:5–Matthew 3:6, 6; Gospel of Mark, Mark; Gospel of Luke, Luke ; Gospel of John, John). These acts of Baptism are also reported as having taken place at Bethabara (). Jesus came Baptism of Jesus, to be baptised by him there (Matthew 3:13; ; , ). The Jordan is also where John the Baptist bore record of Jesus as the Son of God and Lamb of God (). The prophecy of Isaiah regarding the Messiah which names the Jordan () is also reported in . The New Testament speaks several times about Jesus crossing the Jordan during his ministry (; ), and of believers crossing the Jordan to come hear him Sermon, preach and to be miracle, healed of their diseases (; ). When his enemies sought to capture him, Jesus took refuge at the river in the place John had first baptised (). Scholars have concluded that the site called Al-Maghtas on the east side has long been considered the location for the Baptism of Jesus and a place of pilgrimage though most current pilgrims go to a location on the west side, Qasr el Yahud, also long'established but not as early. This has led to choosing Al-Maghtas as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which took place in 2015.


Derived cultural significance


Symbolism

Because, according to Jewish tradition, the Israelites made a difficult and hazardous journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Promised Land, the Promised Land, the Jordan can refer to freedom. The actual crossing is the final step of the journey, which is then complete. Among many other references, the Jordan River is given this meaning in the text of ''Old Man River (song), Old Man River'': "Let me go 'way from the Mississippi / Let me go 'way from the white man boss / Show me that stream called the River Jordan / That's the old stream that I long to cross".


Christening of royals

Because of the baptism of Jesus, water from the Jordan is employed for the christening of heirs and princes in several Christian royal houses, such as the cases of Prince George of Cambridge, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Simeon of Bulgaria and James Ogilvy. Earlier, On 15 May 1717, the Empress Maria Theresa was baptised in Vienna by the Papal Nuntius Giorgio Spinola, representing Pope Clement XI, with baptismal water containing a few drops from the River Jordan.


Christian poetry and music

The Jordan is a frequent symbol in Folk music, folk, Gospel music, gospel, and Spiritual (music), spiritual music, and in poetry, poetic and literature, literary works. The baptism of Jesus is referred to in a hymn by the reformer Martin Luther, "" (1541), base for a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, (1724). The Jordan River, due primarily to its rich spiritual importance, has provided inspiration for countless songs, hymns, and stories, including the traditional African-American spiritual/folk songs "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", "Deep River (song), Deep River", and "Roll, Jordan, Roll". It is mentioned in the songs "Eve of Destruction (song), Eve of Destruction", "Will You Be There", and "The Wayfaring Stranger (song), The Wayfaring Stranger" and in "Ol' Man River" from the musical ''Show Boat''. "The Far Side Banks of Jordan" by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash on June's Grammy Award-winning studio album, ''Press On'', mentions the Jordan River as well as the Promised Land. Jordan River is also the subject of roots reggae artist Burning Spear's song of the same title. Belarusian band Spasenie dedicated its whole album “Crossing the Jordan” to the topic.


See also

* Ænon * Baptism of Jesus * Bethabara * Ed-Dikke synagogue * Fair river sharing * Island of Peace * Jordan Rift Valley * Jordan Valley * List of rivers of Israel * List of rivers of Jordan * Mandaeans * Naharayim


References


Bibliography

* * *


External links


SMART – Multilateral project for sustainable water management in the lower Jordan Valley
* Inventory of Conflict and Environment (ICE)
Jordan River Dispute

"Map of the River Jordan and Dead Sea: And the Route of the Party Under the Command of Lieutenant W.F. Lynch, United States Navy"
is a map from the mid-19th century of the River Jordan and Dead Sea, made under the command of William F. Lynch.
"The Jordan River"
in which John the Baptist baptized his cousin Jesus of Nazareth. (Yardenit.com) {{Authority control Jordan River, International rivers of Asia Rivers of Israel Rivers of Jordan Rivers of the State of Palestine Rivers of Syria Rivers of the West Bank Geography of Israel Geography of Palestine (region) Geography of the State of Palestine Geography of Syria Geography of the West Bank Landforms of the Middle East Landforms of Western Asia Great Rift Valley Hebrew Bible rivers Sacred rivers New Testament geography Catholic pilgrimage sites Environmental issues in Israel Tourism in Jordan Border rivers Borders of the West Bank Israel–Jordan border Israel–Syria border Israel–Jordan relations Mandaeism