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beyond this bridge the river falls into the Sea of Galilee, through the middle of which it passes undisturbed, and flows out at the opposite extremity, near the ruins of Tarichæa. It then flows about

seventy miles southward, through the plain of Jordan, and is lost in the waters of the Dead Sea. When it first leaves the Sea of Galilee, it passes through a deep valley, the verdure and fertility of which present a striking contrast to the arid wastes around. This delightful spot is shaded with thick groves, and enlivened by the song of nightingales; it is called in Zech. xi. 3, and elsewhere, the "pride of Jordan.” It is still frequented by wild beasts, and was once a resort of lions, as appears from Jer. xlix. 19; 1. 44, where of the predicted destroyer it is said, "He shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan." Between the Sea of Tiberias and the Dead Sea the Jordan receives several tributary streams, both from east and west, which render its course so rapid, that it is scarcely possible to swim across it. In the winter it completely overflows the deep valley in which it is imbedded, though it never rises to the level of the great plain of Jordan. We read, in Judges iii. 28, that Ehud took possession of "the fords of Jordan," to intercept the Moabites. The river is now fordable in many places in the summer; at other times in very few, and those known only to the Arabs. We read in Josh. iii. 15, (see also 1 Chron. xii. 15,) that the "Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest," which in Palestine is the latter part of March and the whole of April.

The waters of the Jordan are turbid, being charged with a black bituminous sediment. When drawn off, however, in vessels, it is clear and bright, as well as pleasant to the taste, and may be kept fresh an unusual length of time. With this water John baptized his followers, as well as Christ himself, Matt. iii. 16; Mark i. 10; Luke iii. 21, 22; a circumstance which, in early times, occasioned much superstitious reverence

for this river. Thousands of oriental Christians have, for centuries, thronged annually to be washed in the Jordan. This practice still continues, and is a source of considerable profit to the Turkish government, who exact a contribution from every pilgrim.

The whole length of the Jordan is about 100 miles by a straight course on the map, and, with its windings, may be computed at perhaps 150 miles. Different accounts are given by travellers of its breadth. Maundrell makes it twenty yards; Volney sixty paces at its entrance into the Dead Sea; Chateaubriand, at the same place, fifty paces; Burckhardt eighty paces; Buckingham, who crossed near Jericho, in the year 1815, twenty-five yards. We may safely take the average at thirty yards; but it is probable that no other river of so little breadth rolls with so rapid or so deep

a current.

II. Of the minor streams mentioned in the Bible, the most northerly is the Kishon, which rises at the foot of Mount Tabor, and not far from its source is divided into two branches, one of which flows eastward into the Dead Sea; while the other, which is the largest, and to which the name Kishon is commonly applied, takes an opposite direction, and after receiving, in its course, supplies from all the springs and brooks of Mount Ephraim, Samaria, and the plain of Esdrelon, empties itself into the Bay of Acre, at the foot of Mount Carmel. The mouth of this stream is often choked with sand during the summer season, in which case it forms a sort of lake. In winter the water is so high that it is dangerous to cross it. The banks of this stream are among the most beautiful and fertile spots in Palestine.

The Kishon is remarkable for the battle between Sisera and Barak, which was fought upon its banks, Judg. iv. 7, 13. In the song which Deborah composed on that occasion, it is called the "waters of Megiddo," Judg. v. 19, from a place of that name, near which it flowed. Here, too, Elijah slew the 450

priests of Baal, 1 Kings xviii. 40. The Kishon is probably "the river before Jokneam," mentioned in Josh. xix. 11, as the boundary between the tribes of Zebulon and Issachar.

III. The brook Kanah, mentioned Josh. xvi. 8; xvii. 9, 10, as the dividing line between the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, flows from east to west, and falls into the Mediterranean.

IV. The brook Cherith, by which Elijah dwelt, 1 Kings xvii. 3, 5, rose in the north-western region of the plain of Jericho, and fell into the Jordan, to the east of the city of Samaria.

V. The "water of Jericho," mentioned in Josh. xvi. 1, is no doubt the same with the river, mentioned Josh. xv. 7. Its source was a spring near Jericho, the same, according to Josephus, into which Elisha cast salt and healed the water, which before was poisonous, 2 Kings ii. 19-22.

VI. In the deep valley which divides Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, rises the brook Kedron, called also Kidron and Cedron, which flows towards the south, and, after many windings, falls into the Dead Sea. In the summer time it is almost dry, but rises above its bed when swollen with the winter rains. Over this brook David passed, when he fled from his son Absalom; and our Lord, on the night when he was betrayed, 2 Sam. xv. 23; John xviii. 1. It is also mentioned in 1 Kings xv. 13; 2 Chron. xv. 16; xxx. 13, 14; 2 Kings xxiii. 4, 6, 12.

VII. The brook Besor, that is, the cold brook, is only mentioned in 1 Sam. xxx. 9, 10, as the stream over which David passed in pursuit of the Amalekites, who had robbed and burnt Ziklag. All that we know of its situation is, that it was near the southern boundary of the land.

VIII. East of the Jordan there are two brooks, which are mentioned in the Scriptures. The Jabbok is first mentioned in the history of Jacob, who forded it on his return from Mesopotamia to Canaan. It is

now called Zerka, or the Blue River. It rises in Mount Gilead, and after a course of a few miles, flows into the Jordan. Its bed is in a deep valley; but the stream itself is very inconsiderable. It was formerly the boundary between the Ammonites and Amorites, Num. xxi. 24; Josh. xii. 2; Judg. xi. 13, 22.

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IX. The most considerable stream east of Jordan is the Arnon, now called Mujeb, which divides Belkah (once the land of the Ammonites) from Caracca, the ancient Moab, Num. xxi. 13—15; Deut. iv. 48; Judg. xi. 21, 22. This stream was the southern boundary of the land of Israel beyond the Jordan, Deut. iii. 8. It rises in the mountains of Arabia. The margin of the brook is covered with verdure, but beyond the banks rise on either side into abrupt and rugged cliffs. The Arnon is almost dry during the summer, but in the winter is a rapid torrent.


I. WHEN Moses (Deut. viii. 7) calls the Promised Land a land of "brooks" and "fountains," he means in comparison with Egypt and the deserts of Arabia. We have already seen that Palestine has but one large river, and not many minor streams; nor does it abound in springs so much as many other countries. The district best supplied is that called the Wilderness of John the Baptist, which is the only part of the country where there are gardens naturally well watered. Many springs in Palestine are dry in summer, to which the prophets allude, when they speak of "waters that fail," Jer. xv. 18; Isa. lviii. 11; to illustrate the painful and fatal results from a deficiency of grace, and the want of those influences which are emblematically spoken of as waters of life. This natural scarcity of water greatly enhances the value of those districts which are well supplied. In such districts the first settlements would be made; and hence we find many places mentioned in the Scriptures under the names of "fountains," near which they were


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situated: such as En-Gedi, Josh. xv. 62; En-Gannin, Josh. xxi. 29; En-Eglaim, Ezek. xlvii. 10; and many others, in all which the first syllable En is the Hebrew for a spring or fountain. The "fountain in Jezreel,' mentioned 1 Sam. xxix. 1, is probably the same called the "well of Harod," in Judg. vii. 1, and "Jacob's well," in John iv. 6, 12. It is a few miles south of Nablos, the ancient Shechem, and is 100 feet deep. The Empress Helena erected a magnificent church over the spot, which has disappeared.

II. The want of springs necessarily led to the digging of wells. Several were dug by Abraham in the land of the Philistines; one by Isaac in the valley of Gerar, where they found "a well of springing water," Gen. xxvi. 19. In those spots where water could not be obtained by digging, it was necessary to have recourse to cisterns for the preservation of rain-water. These were commonly spacious subterraneous cavities, with a narrow mouth, which was generally covered over and concealed when the cistern was full. Sometimes, however, the water would sink into the earth, and leave the cistern dry, as was the case with that into which Joseph's brethren cast him, Gen. xxxvii. 22, 24. In the Psalms, deep calamity is often likened to an empty cistern, (translated in our Bible, "pit,") Psa. lv. 23; lxxxviii. 6. In old decayed cisterns the water becomes slimy, or dries up; on which circumstance the prophet Jeremiah founds a lively metaphor, (ii. 13,) reproving the Jews who had forsaken their Lord and God, and his salvation, seeking after other ways of deliverance and pardon, which could not but disappoint them.

III. Not far to the south-east of the Dead Sea, there is a spot which has long been famous for its medicinal warm springs. It was called by the Greeks Callirhoë, and is supposed by some to have been discovered by Anah. (See Gen. xxxvi. 24, where the word translated in our Bibles "mules," also means warm springs, and is so explained in some of the ancient versions.)

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