Jesus' baptism by John
|13Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
|9And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
|16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
|10And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
|21Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23aNow Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.
The name Jordan, or yarad in Hebrew, means “to go down...to descend.” From the time it leaves its main sources at the foot of Mount Hermon, it drops 2,600 feet to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth’s surface. Its course follows the largest fault zone on earth, the Great Rift Valley, which begins in Turkey and extends to East Africa.
The melted snows from Mount Hermon which spring forth at Dan and Caesarea Philippi are the main source of the river. As the river runs down toward the Sea of Galilee, the volume of water increases as several small tributaries and springs contribute to the flow. About 264 billion gallons of water flow through the Jordan River each year.
After the Jordan River exits the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, it meanders 125 miles (although the distance in a straight line is only 65 miles) to the Dead Sea. The depth of the river varies with the season as well as by region. At some points it is as shallow as three feet, in other places 10 to 12 feet. In the spring, however, the Jordan used to be “at flood stage all during the harvest” (Joshua 3:15). Today about 90 percent of the Jordan flow has been diverted for domestic or agricultural use.
The southern part of the Jordan attracts few tourists because it straddles Israel and the country of Jordan. Just above the Dead Sea, across from Jericho, near what the Bible calls “Bethany beyond the Jordan,” John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (John 1:28).