Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Jordan River







The Jordan river is significant for a number of reasons. Historically, it has served as a natural dividing line and border between groups and nations (today part of it is the literal border between Israel and Jordan). Religiously, it is much more than a boundary.

First of all, the Jordan river is the spot where Elijah ascends into heaven, dropping his mantle onto Elisha's shoulders as his "chariot of fire" flys away. The Jewish population especially honors Elijah and Elisha as prophets of great importance.

Second (and in my opinion, closely related), is the baptism of Jesus. We know the story well. What I find significant is the fact that these two events occurred in the same place. Think of the baptism by water and baptism by fire spoken of by Jesus himself. Then consider the idea of Jesus' baptism by water and Elijah's ascension by fire. Not to mention the other LDS connections we have with Elijah and his role in the restoration.

The celebrated spot of Jesus' baptism
Church commemorating Elijah's ascension into heaven

The Jordan river, though not so clean, is a place of purity. I felt the spirit of the place as we sang hymns, studied our scriptures, and pondered the events that occurred there. 

Love,

Mark

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! Thanks for reviewing the historical background to this holy site. I love the insight as to the "water/fire" connection
    regarding Jesus' baptism and Elijah's ascension. Great pictures... Love you! xoxo

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