"COME, NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER, SAYS THE LORD" (ISAIAH 1.18)
—"The one reading, be understanding!" (Mk. 13.14; Mt. 24.15)
Brief studies and devotionals designed to elucidate the meaning of Scripture, increase our faith, and enable us to draw closer to God. To learn more about this column, see: "01—The Bible Was Written To Be Understood."
In Elijah's final days, before ascending to heaven “by a whirlwind” (2 Kgs. 2.11), he and Elisha had visited Gilgal, Bethel, and Jericho — each cities of the northern kingdom relatively close to one another — at the behest of the Lord. From Jericho, they journeyed to the Jordan River, approximately five miles east of the old city. Here, the prophet miraculously divided the waters of the river, utilizing only his cloak — a feat repeated by Elisha shortly thereafter.
The Jordan, from top to bottom, spans some 200 miles. The particular section with which the Bible concerns itself, stretching from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, covers about sixty-five linear miles; though, taking into account the curves, it journeys a total of 104 miles before reaching its final destination.
The name, Jordan, bears some significance too. It suggests, in Hebrew (yarden), “flowing downward.” Not only does it flow from north to south, it also drops significantly in elevation from start to finish. “The sources of the Jordan at Banias (Phoenician Panias), near Caesarea Philippi are 1,200 feet above the Mediterranean. The river drops to 1,292 feet below sea level at the delta where it enters the Dead Sea, the bottom of which is another 1,300 feet lower” (Baker's Bible Atlas, 22).