The most important river of Palestine, formed by the union of several springs rising in Mount Hermon. It passes through the Huleh Valley (the waters of Merom), then descends to the Sea of Galilee, 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Passing out at the southern end of the lake, the river makes its way through a deep and intensely hot valley, 66 miles in length, called the Arabah, and finally enters the Dead or Salt Sea, 1292 feet below sea level. The total length of the river is well over 100 miles. The breadth varies from 90 to 100 feet, and the depth from 3 to 12 feet.
The two most important events connected with this river are (1) the passage of the children of Israel (Josh. 3–4); and (2) the baptism of our Lord (Matt. 3). It is not possible to fix the exact spot at which either of these events occurred. The Israelites may have crossed at the ford opposite Jericho, or more probably at a spot 16 miles further north. For the site of the baptism see Bethabara.