Water Divination Around the Jordan: The Ford-Fight of Jacob and the Water-Test of Jesus

  • James W. PerkinsonEmail author


Chapter 7 will then move through the historical narrative of the Hebrew tradition, with Celtic herder conventions in mind, opening up perspective on nomad Jacob as Jabbok-hero-in the making, Joshua as Jordan-crosser marking angel-battle with stone witness, and Elijah as prophet-initiate, frequenting the East bank as Spirit-World-portal opening out into wilderness training and weather-weaponry in the struggle with the state. The second half of the chapter will bring the Baal/Yahweh Sea Conflict and Hebrew Ford-Crossing memories to bear on gospel traditions. In particular, we will explore Johannine hints, lifting up water as actor in making the messiah visible to the Baptizer—perhaps in a Baal-like “heaven-opening” rain-storm at the Jordan site—and exploring the power of the aviary migration route along the Jordan course in directing Jesus’ own initiatory “water ordeal” by way of a “Spirit-Incarnate” pigeon. Jesus’ subsequent “stone testing” in East bank wildlands recapitulates Israel’s formative Exodus wandering as nomad pastoralists following a Storm-Deity and the water-ford and water-well struggles anchored even earlier in ancestor Jacob’s border-wrestling with the numinous guards of crossing sites, galvanizing comprehension of the Bible in general as a “book of weather” and weather as primarily a matter of “water speak.”


  1. Abram, David. 2010. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. New York: Pantheon Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Corbett, Jim. 2005. A Sanctuary for All Life: The Cowbalah of Jim Corbett. Englewood, CO: Howling Dog Press.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1991. Goatwalking. New York: Viking Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  4. Lipnick, Jonathan. 2014. Four Sacred Mountains. Israel Biblical Studies Blog, December 16. Viewed September 22, 2018,
  5. Myers, Ched. 2001. The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics. Washington, DC: Church of the Savior.Google Scholar
  6. Prechtel, Martín. 2012. The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping Seeds Alive. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
  7. Perkinson, James W. 2013. Messianism Against Christology: Resistance Movements, Folk Arts, and Empire. New York: Palgrave MacmillanPress.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 2015. Political Spirituality in an Age of Eco-Apocalypse: Essays in Communication and Struggle Across Species, Cultures, and Religions. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. ———. 2018. God in a Grape; Spirit in a Sheep. RadicalDisciplsehip Blog, May 6. Viewed September 5, 2018,
  10. Schapirosep, Mark. 2017. Syria Holds the Secret to Our Species’ Survival. MotherJones, September 18, 2017.Google Scholar
  11. Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Willette, Dorothy. 2018. The Enduring Symbolism of Doves: From Ancient Icon to Biblical Mainstay. Bible History Daily/Biblical Archaeological Society, June 13. Viewed January 8, 2019,
  13. Woollaston, Victoria. 2016. Smarter Than Your Average Bird: Turtle Doves That Migrate for Long Distances Have More Neurons in the Brain. MailOnline, February 24. Viewed January 18, 2019,
  14. Zohary, D., and M. Hopf. 2000. Domestication of Plants in the Old World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecumenical Theological SeminaryDetroitUSA

Personalised recommendations