A VERY remarkable river often mentioned in the Bible is the Jordan, which flows through nearly the center of Palestine from north to south, and is the chief and most celebrated river of that country.

The name Jordan, we are told, signifies "the descender." This name is quite appropriate, whether we consider the rapid descent of the current, or the great depth of the valley through which it runs.

The most remarkable feature of this river is, that throughout nearly its entire course it is below the level of the sea, and finally empties its waters into a sea that has no outlet. In the upper part of its course, the Jordan flows through two small lakes; the first is the waters of Merom, now called Lake Huleh, and the second, nine miles below this, is Lake Gennesaret, or Chinnereth, also called the Sea of Tiberias or Galilee.  Capernaum, the town where our Saviour lived, is on its banks; the most of his public life was spent near this sea, and it is hallowed by many scenes connected with his life. He stilled its waters by a word, when the fierce tempest swept over it, threatening to destroy his little bark. Here he called many of his disciples; and it was upon the waters of this lake that Peter tried to walk, and for lack of faith sank trembling in its waves, crying, "Lord, save me." 

Matthew 14:25-33.

The Jordan issues from the Sea of Galilee close to the hills on the western side of the plain, and winds, in ceaseless coils, down the valley, "now touching one side and now another with its beautiful border of green foliage, looking all the greener from contrast with the desert above, till at last it is lost in the waters of the Dead Sea."

The first mention of the Jordan you will find in the thirteenth chapter of Genesis, in the story of the separation of Abram and Lot, after they came up out of Egypt. Abram gave Lot his choice in the land before them, and "Lot beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord." "Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan."

Travelers tell us that this plain is now a parched desert; then it was well watered everywhere. The curse had not yet come upon it; the fire of heaven had not passed over it; for you will remember that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were afterward destroyed by fire. See Gen. 19:24, 25, 28. It is plain that some great physical change was produced by the convulsion at the destruction of these cities; for now "the plain is coated with a nitrous crust like hoar frost, and not a tree, shrub, or blade of grass is seen except near fountains and rivulets."