The Jordan River runs through the land and history of the Bible, giving its waters a spiritual significance that sets it aside from other rivers.
The Jordan is significant for Jews because the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the river on dry ground to enter the Promised Land after years of wandering in the desert.
It is significant for Christians because 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.
Beyond its significance as the baptizing place of Christ, the Jordan River is mentioned many more times both in the Bible and in the New Testament, usually in reference to its lush vegetation and life giving powers. It is written in the New Testament that large parts of the ministries of John the Baptist, as well as those of the prophets Elijah and Elisha took place on the banks of the Jordan River.
As far as the Old Testament goes, the Jordan River is first mentioned in the Book of Genesis where its flourishing grounds are likened to those of the "Garden of God" (13:10). Also in the Bible, Jacob was renamed Israel at the Jabbok River, a tributary of the Jordan. Finally, in the Book of Joshua it is said that, like the Red Sea, the Jordan River parted before the Israelites so that they could cross it and enter the Promised Land.