As a prominent feature in ancient Israel, the Jordan River was mentioned nearly 200 times in the Bible. Its fast-flowing waters created a natural barrier between Canaan and the lands to the east. At times, it also served as a line of protection when God?s prophets and kings were being pursued.
Beginning at the foot of Mount Hermon, the Jordan travels about twenty-five miles before emptying into the Sea of Galilee. It continues to flow from the southern end of the Sea and winds its way to the Dead Sea, about sixty-five miles away. The famous river is surprisingly narrow—only fifty to seventy-five feet wide in most places.
See a map of the Jordan River
The Jordan?s name was derived from words meaning ?to descend? or ?go down.? The river drops significantly in elevation—Mount Hermon stands 9,000 feet above sea level while the Dead Sea sits 1,400 feet below—making it one of the fastest flowing rivers of its size.