Journey Through The Scriptures

Mountains and Waters of Israel

Lesson 6: Another Miraculous Crossing for Israel

(Scripture to Read: Joshua 3:1–17)

The Jordan River is perhaps the most important body of water in Israel, both in biblical times and today. Much of everyday life in the Holy Land relies on the steady flow of the Jordan from its source at Mount Hermon in northern Israel down the eastern edge of Israel to the Dead Sea – the lowest spot on earth at nearly 1,300 feet below sea level. The most prominent event involving the Jordan during this time period was its crossing by Joshua and the people of Israel as they entered the Promised Land after forty years of wandering in the desert. The Jordan was at flood stage when the Israelites reached it, making a crossing all but impossible.

However, Joshua told the people to follow the priests, who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant. As soon as the priests stepped into the water the Jordan stopped flowing, which allowed the entire nation to cross over on dry ground as happened earlier at the Red Sea – a second miraculous parting of the waters. Joshua 4 records that Joshua sent representatives from each tribe back into the river to retrieve stones and construct a memorial at Gilgal. He also instructed Israel to tell anyone who asked about the stones the story of God’s miraculous power in leading His people into the Promised Land.

Study Questions

  1. Why did God lead Israel to the edge of the Jordan when it was at flood stage?
  2. Why was it important for the people to follow the priests carrying the Ark?
  3. Do you think it is important for us to have memorials in our lives as reminders of God's power and answers to our prayers?

Something to Think About

It is always good to be reminded of God's faithfulness in our lives. Remembering what He has done can also help keep us from forging ahead on our own and forgetting to wait on the Lord. We must learn to discern and follow God’s leading.