Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Jordan River

I found yesterday’s editorial in the Jordan Times a powerful warning that must be heeded.
(See Friday/Saturday, April 14-15, 2006)
The subject and substance of the editorial was about the abuse and theft of the waters of the legendary Jordan River!

The seventh century A.D. mosaic map of the Middle East known as The Madaba Map shows the Jordan River clearly. It shows fish swimming down stream and then turning around at the mouth of the Dead Sea to avoid certain death. If the proportions of the map are at all accurate, the Jordan looked like a mighty river then.

In 1848 an American naval expedition led by Lt. Lynch navigated the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The trip took eight days after which Lt. Lynch concluded that the river was too unpredictable for any large scale commercial navigation purposes. So there is proof that the river was navigable 150 years ago.

Before the June 1967 war anyone could easily visit the Jordan River, and local Christians often baptized their children in it. We baptized ours in 1962 in a memorable ceremony. The priest took them with their god parents in a small boat to the middle of the river where he could easily reach into the water for the baptism rite.

After June 1967 the Jordan River became an armistice line between the occupied West Bank and Jordan. Actually, the crossing has the attributes of an international border. Although I don’t know what the legal status of the Jordan River is at the moment, approaching its banks is nearly impossible and very dangerous. The only place I know of where one can get near the river is at the newly developed Baptism site. During my last visit there I was impressed with the historical and Biblical significance of the whole area. However, the Jordan River is dirty and polluted. I can’t imagine much life surviving in the shallow water so filled with silt that it no longer looks like water.

Are there international bodies which can help us save the Jordan River? Are there international accords that can be implemented? I know it is imperative that something must be done and done soon, or the Jordan River will cease to be.


Blogger salam said...

Dear Joladies,(and auntie Ann):
I want to congratulate you all on starting your own blog.I think it's a wonderful idea that you can share with us ,Jordanians, all your experiences from the early days when Amman was a small town and seeing it grow into the metropolis city it is now turning into.I will be looking forward to your posts,and I hope you give me the permission to link to your blog in my blog:
and maybe write a small article about it to have it published on
I am sure most of the readers would be interested in following your valuable posts.
Best wishes.
Salam Najjar Sawalha

Wednesday, April 19, 2006  
Anonymous Shereen Sawalha said...

hi grama!! im proud of you! i love your blogs! keep it up!

Sunday, April 23, 2006  

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