The Jordan River stretches 250 kilometers from its waterheads at the base of Mt. Hermon to its final resting place in the Dead Sea, dropping 700 meters of elevation in the journey. One of the world’s most sacred rivers, the Jordan is mentioned in both Hebrew and Christian scriptures as an important landmark. The significance of “crossing over Jordan” in the Exodus story symbolized the movement from slavery in Egypt to entering the promised land, a motif in many contemporary spiritual songs.
In the New Testament, the Jordan is given additional significance as the baptismal place of both Jesus and John as well as other followers of Jesus. Today the Jordan River is still a popular place to be baptized, though overuse of its water in irrigation has left the river little more than a muddy creek at some places.
The Yardenit baptismal site along the Jordan commemorates the place where Jesus was baptized by John (Matthew 3:13). Many Christian pilgrim groups pass through the baptismal compound and descend into the Jordan River to be baptized.