As Jesus came up out of the water, heaven opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended upon him. Witnesses to the baptism heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matt 3:16-17
The challenge today is for you to find out about which river the water came from that was used in your baptism, and take steps to protect it.
Here is some information about the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised
Spiritual significance of the Jordan River
The tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the river on dry ground to enter the Promised Land after years of wandering in the desert.
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.
Flowing southward from its sources in the mountainous area where Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet, the Jordan River passes through the Sea of Galilee and ends in the Dead Sea. The river falls 950 metres from its source to the Dead Sea. For most of its course down the Jordan Rift Valley, it flows well below sea level. Its name means “Dan [one of its tributaries] flows down”.
Though an old song says the River Jordan is “deep and wide”, the modern river is neither. In places it is more like a creek than a river — less than 10 metres across and 2 metres deep.
From Jesus’ time until the mid 20th century, seasonal flooding in winter and spring expanded its width to 1.5km. Dams in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel now preclude flooding.
Current State of the Jordan river
Because its waters are a vital resource for the dry lands of the region, the Jordan has been a source of contention among Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
In modern times more than 90 per cent of its natural flow has been diverted for domestic and agricultural use. The lower Jordan is heavily polluted by sewage and industrial run-off.
In 2007 the World Monuments Fund listed the lower Jordan in the top 100 most “endangered cultural heritage sites”. In support, a regional environmental organisation, Friends of the Earth Middle East, said: “The region’s current policies treat the river as a backyard dumping ground