THE Holy Land is almost as remarkable in its physical features as in its history. From the eastern arm of the Red Sea, called the Gulf of Akaba, a deep, narrow valley extends northward for more than five hundred miles, terminating near Antioch, which is not far from the north-eastern angle of the Mediterranean Sea. 

The southern part of this valley extends through that "great and terrible wilderness" where the Israelites wandered for nearly forty years. The middle and deepest portion extends through Palestine from north to south, separating it into two divisions, one lying on the east and the other on the west. Through this part of the valley the Jordan River flows to the Dead Sea, which lies thirteen hundred feet below the level of the ocean. This stream is said to be without a parallel, whether physically or historically considered.

The northern part of the valley lies between the two mountain ranges called Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. It is drained by two streams, the Orontes, flowing northward, and the Leontes, flowing southward. Both these streams, turning abruptly to the west, break through the mountains, and discharge their waters into the Mediterranean Sea, the Leontes passing through a chasm of frightful depth. As this stream turns to the westward, it leaves, to the east and south-east, a mountainous ridge. The drainage from the eastern slope of this ridge, and the western slope of Anti-Lebanon, forms, in the wet season, a dashing stream, called the Hasbany. This is by far the longest branch of the Jordan, although it furnishes the least water, for at some seasons it is for twenty or thirty miles nothing but a dry torrent-bed. Mr. J. Macgregor, who explored this stream in 1869, 

says: ''Young Jordan is like the prettiest tiny stream in Scotland, with white hollowed rocks and weird taverns; but the gravel is prettier here than in my own land, pebbles of yellow and bright blue, ranked in by fruitful loam of a deep, rich red, and all so silent and unaffected. So it winds until steeper rocks gird the water, narrowing where wild beasts' paws have marked the sand. Farther down, a bold cliff dips into a pool of deepest green. .... Just opposite the cliff, and a few yards away, is a three-cornered island of and small gravel, with many low bushes on it, and luxuriant spotted clover, and under and from out these there bubbles, gurgles, and ascends the first undoubted subterranean source if the Jordan. There are about twenty of these curious fountains on this islet, and the water runs from them in all directions. ..... The island and the rocks near it are formed into a wreir, for the terribly practical purpose of supplying a mill. Perish all the mills and millstones that spoil the birthplace of such a stream!"

Of the same stream a little farther down, he says, ''The river bends below the bridge with all the waywardness of a trout stream in the highlands. Thick trees hang over its clear surging waters, and reeds, twenty feet high, fill the bays; while rocks, and a thousand hanging, straggling creepers on them, tangle together over silent pools."

About a mile and a half from the south-west corner of Mt. Hermon, is a cup-shaped hill, thickly covered with shrubs, and bearing the modern name of Tel-el-Kady, Hill of the Judge. It stands on the northern border of a rich plain, which falls off gently southward to the marshes above Lake Huleh. This hill was the site of ancient Dan, where Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves.

This mound gives birth to the most copious source of the Jordan. From its top and western side bursts forth "an immense stream of the most limpid water," a river which "drives two mills, and furnishes water-power enough for any number." This is said to be the largest water source in the world. The waters first gather into a circular basin a hundred feet wide, whence they break, a turbulent river, which goes foaming and dashing away to the plain, mostly hidden from view by the dense thickets that enshroud it. This stream is called the Leddan.

But the most beautiful source of the Jordan remains yet to be described. It issues from a wide and lofty cavern three or four miles east of Tell-el-Kady, and just at the foot of Mt. Hermon. Immediately above the cave rises a "steep-faced cliff, about eighty feet high, much scathed by weather and cut about by man." 

Near by are the ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi. One says that ''from the midst of these ruins" which choke the mouth of the cave "and from numerous chinks in the surrounding rocks, the waters of the great fountain gush forth. They collect a short distance below, and form a rapid torrent, which leaps in sheets of foam down a rocky bed."

Josephus, in describing this cave, says: "It is a very beautiful cave in the mountain, and under it a chasm of the earth and a steep abyss of enormous depth, full of standing water. Above impends a huge mountain, and below the cave spring forth the fountains of the river Jordan." Here Herod built a temple, which he consecrated to Caesar. The place is now called Banias, and the stream flowing from it the Baniasy. The Baniasy and the Leddan soon unite; and about a mile below the junction, the Hasbany contributes its sparkling waters. Thus the river Jordan is formed; and flows on through marshy lands to Lake Huleh, and thence by a rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee.