This is the Jordan River Valley. The Jordan River flows down this valley from the Sea of Galilee (off to the left) to the Dead Sea (off to the right). The valley is about 2 miles (3 km) wide at its narrowest point and about 10 miles (16 km) wide at its widest point. It is 65 miles (105 km) from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.
The word “Jordan” is used 182 times in the Bible. The Jordan River is famous because Joshua and the Israelites crossed it on dry land during flood season and because Jesus was baptized in it. In addition to these famous references, the Jordan is mentioned throughout Old Testament history, most often as an obstacle that needed to be crossed as people traveled east and west.
FlatNotice the flatness of the valley. Most of the holy land is hilly and mountainous, meaning it is difficult to travel through the Holy Land; therefore, travelers and traders tended to gravitate towards flat areas when they traveled long distances. The Jordan is one such flat area; thus, it was a well used highway in antiquity.
Notice the contrast between the brown mountains in the background and the green fields on the floor of the valley. The Holy Land is an arid region; however, there are some areas that are very fertile due to the presence of water, and the Jordan Valley is one such green, fertile area.
Due to the flat terrain and the presence of water in the valley, the Jordan Valley is an agricultural area.
Abram and Lot
The first mention of the Jordan in the Bible is in relation to Abram and Lot. Notice that Lot was drawn to the valley because it was well watered. Lot’s view of the valley may have been very similar to the view of the valley in this picture.
Gen. 13:2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.
Gen. 13:3 He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
Gen. 13:4 to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
Gen. 13:5 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.
Gen. 13:6 And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together.
Gen. 13:7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.
Gen. 13:8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers.
Gen. 13:9 “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.”
Gen. 13:10 Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere — this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah — like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.
Gen. 13:11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other.
Gen. 13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
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