Northern Part of the Great Rift Valley
The Jordan River is a river in western Asia flowing through the Jordan Rift Valley into the Dead Sea. It arises from springs at the base of Mount Hermon, One spring forms the stream Nahal Senir, the second (Banaias at Caesarea Philippi forms the stream Naahal Hermon, the third forms the stream Nahal Dan, all three of which which merge to form the Jordan. The Jordan drops rapidly in a seventy-five kilometer run to swampy Lake Merom, which is slightly below sea level in the Rift Valley. Exiting the lake, it drops much more in about 25 kilometers to the Sea of Galilee, also known as Chinnereth. The last section has less gradient, and the river begins to meander before it enters the Dead Sea, which is about 400 meters below sea level and has no outlet. Two major tributaries enter from the east during this last phase, the Rivers Yarmuk and Jabbok.
Its section north of Sea of Galilee is within the boundaries of Israel. South of the lake, it forms the border between the kingdom of Jordan (to the east) and Israel (to the west). Further south, it forms the border between Jordan and the West Bank.
In modern times the waters are 70 to 90 per cent used for human purposes and the flow is much reduced. Because of this and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained in modern times and are now salt flats.
The waters of the Jordan are an extremely important resource to the dry lands of the area and are a bone of contention between Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank.
See alsoUtah Lake north into the Great Salt Lake in Utah.