Aerial view middle section of the Jordan River, at the narrowest section of Jordan Rift Valley, and hills and agricultural fields adjacent to the river.
The Jordan River is a 251-kilometre-long (156 mi) river in the Middle East that flows roughly north to south, through the Sea of Galilee and on to the Dead Sea.
The Jordan River has an upper course (from its sources to the Sea of Galilee), middle course (from Sea of Galilee south), and a lower course (before entering to the Dead Sea).
Its section north of the Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel and forms the western boundary of the Golan Heights. South of the lake, it forms the border between the Kingdom of Jordan (to the east), and Israel (to the west).
Jordan River is one of the world’s most sacred rivers, the Jordan is mentioned in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures as an important landmark.
The Jordan is significant for Jews because the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the river on dry ground to enter the Promised Land after years of wandering in the desert.
It is significant for Christians because John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the waters of the Jordan.
The prophets Elijah and Elisha also crossed the river dry-shod; and the Syrian general Naaman was healed of leprosy after washing in the Jordan at Elisha’s direction.
From Jesus’ time until the mid 20th century, seasonal flooding in winter and spring expanded its width to 1.5km. Nowadays, dams in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel preclude flooding.