There are several Gospel stories about Jesus asleep in a storm-tossed boat while the disciples call out, “We are perishing,” and all such stories tell us we needn’t fear death because Jesus is with us, and Jesus is in charge.
Although these stories are all set on what is called the Lake or the Sea of Galilee, the water in question is merely a wide place in the Jordan River, and throughout the Bible the Jordan is presented as the death we must pass through to reach the Promised Land.
The story was told most forcibly in Chapter Three of the Book of Joshua. The Jordan was in flood stage when the priests, carrying God’s holy Ark of the Covenant led the long line of Israelites into the river, only to have it back up, allowing the whole nation to pass to the Promised Land.
The symbolism of the Jordan as death is strongest in spiritual lyrics such as, “Show me that stream called the River Jordan, that’s the old stream that I longs to cross.” Or, “Deep river, my home is over Jordan.”
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