Jordan River & Wadi Kelt
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Matthew 3:17 & 4:1
As soon as Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove, and the Father spoke from heaven, “this is my Son, whom I love; with him I well pleased.” The Jordan River is the lifeline for the Jordan Valley. Amid the desert, it brings water to a parched land. This time of year, the waters run slow. It is the lowest river on earth as it flows into the Dead Sea. It is muddy water. The river is a border barely 10 yards separating Israel from Jordan.
Yet it is in this river that John had come calling people to be baptized for the repentance of sin. Here, Jesus came and was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Here, Jesus took the muddy waters, the sins of the world upon himself and began his earthly ministry. After his baptism, Jesus preformed miracles and taught us the way to follow. As the waters were muddy, so is our lives. Yet, out of the muddy waters, we are cleansed and given new life. We have died to sin, and our sins have gone into the dirty waters. And, we arise to new life, called children of God.
And, while God was well pleased with Jesus, he immediately went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. All too often, we think being in God’s favor means things will go smooth and easy. Instead, we are called to follow wherever God leads us. For Jesus, it was 40 days fasting in the wilderness. Wadi Kept is the place where this probably happened. It is near the Jordan and the only source of water for Jesus while he fasted. The desert comes right up to the deep valley. A small creek brings water and life to the area. The birds were loud. The animals were constantly coming to get water. The trees provided shade. In the midst of the harshness is refuge.
Here Jesus was tempted. Here Jesus leaned on God’s word to guide him. He did not use his own strength. He was spent. This would be the first time recorded that God had been hungry. It was God’s word that gave him food and gave him direction.
May we know that we are loved by God, called his children and in the midst of struggles know that God is with us giving us his word to guide us in the footsteps we should take.