Baptized in the Jordan: Restoring a Holy River
Châtel, Francesca de2014
The Jordan River has since biblical times been imbued with powerful symbolic meanings: it is a boundary and a crossing point, a metaphor for spiritual rebirth and salvation, and a source of holy water. This paper reviews the significance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the ecological deterioration that the Jordan basin has suffered after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, which has reached critical situation. Moreover, since 1967 became a heavily militarized political border. The Jordan River is both a cause of conflict and tension as well as a potential source of regional cooperation.
In the face of this highly complex situation, the regional NGO Ecopeace Middle East is working to revive the Jordan River: restoring the basin as a single interconnected ecosystem and a shared cultural and religious heritage site that transcends political boundaries. This has been done involving not only environmental organisations, but also religious organisations and leaders, promoting a Covenant, aiming towards a Peace Park for this holy river.
Châtel, Francesca de. “Baptized in the Jordan: Restoring a Holy River” [On-line]. Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. Vol. 7, September 2014, núm. 12. <http://origins.osu.edu/article/baptized-jordan-restoring-holy-river> [Consulted: 3 September 2014].