Crossing the Jordan
by Rosemarie Adcock
Moses had sent spies into the Promised Land, and only 2 men, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a good report, believing that God would do what He had promised and give them the land. Most of the men came back terrified, saying they were like grasshoppers in the eyes of the inhabitants. The people also became terrified, at one point referring sarcastically to all the Egyptian graves and pyramids saying, “Were there not enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to die in this wilderness?” Because they didn’t believe God fully, Moses and the Israelites wandered in circles in the desert for 40 long years until that entire generation died, except for the faithful two men, Joshua and Caleb, who became the next leaders.
This crossing of the Jordan river differs from the Crossing of the Red Sea in many ways. During the Red Sea crossing, it was recorded that there was a wall of water to the right and left of the people. However, during this Jordan crossing, the water was stopped a long distance away from where the people crossed. In Crossing the Red Sea, the people left as slaves, with images of their shackles on the ground. In Crossing the Jordan, instead of terrified slaves, we see equipped warriors, with singers and musicians carrying the Word of God, the Law, into the new land they were about to occupy. Pages from the book scatter in the sky, depicting their duty and calling by God to distribute His righteous Law throughout the new land, which would also serve as a testimony against the lawlessness of the inhabitants.
The Jordan River flows at the bottom of a deep valley between two, sometimes three ledges, and the water is ordinarily less than 100 feet wide. The banks are overgrown with trees, and in the spring the water overflows these banks. Occasionally the rising water can fill the ravine to the brim, making the waters extremely treacherous to cross, as it was filled to the brim at this time. The spies who had crossed into the land alone, strong young men, could swim across, but this would have been impossible for the entire nation. And unlike when the people crossed the Red Sea, the waters were not already parted. This time the priests carried the ark of the covenant which contained the 10 commandment tablets and passed before the rest of the people. The dangerous waters began to part only as the priests’ feet touched the waters. The entire nation of people crossed over on dry land and arrived just outside the great walled city of Jericho which would be their first conquest.