May 9, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

Farewell, Once Mighty Jordan River

The Jordan River is dying.  PhysOrg said it could be dried up by next year.  Already, much of its flow is sewage.  The source streams from Mt. Hermon are diverted into farming, leaving very little to flow out of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea.  Christian pilgrims wishing to be baptized in the famed Jordan waters are facing serious health threats from the polluted waters.
    Friends of the Earth and other groups are calling for Israel and Jordan to engage in better water management, and to stop pouring raw sewage into the Jordan valley.  “Improving the flow of the Jordan River would also go a long way towards saving the Dead Sea, which is in turn withering rapidly.”  Needless to say, a rich ecosystem that once thrived along the Jordan’s banks has been adversely affected.  See also the Jerusalem Post story. 

It’s tragic to see a symbol of the Bible being treated badly; perhaps the governments will realize their mismanagement and do something in time.  The Jordan was once a raging torrent in wet seasons.  An old hymn talked about “Jordan’s stormy banks” and as recent as 150 years ago it was a dangerous river to cross at times.  “Crossing that old river Jordan” was often a symbol of leaving the land of sorrows to enter heaven.  Nothing on this planet is permanent, though.  Substance is more important than symbolism.
    If you ever visit Israel, be sure to see the beautiful headwater streams north of the Sea of Galilee, especially near the archaeological site of Tell Dan.  The powerful torrents of clear spring water flowing over waterfalls are a beautiful sight.  They remind one of Psalm 42.

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Categories: Bible and Theology

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