Erich Lessing

“The thickets of the Jordan,” as they were called in biblical times, once covered the river’s floodplain far more densely than is shown in this photo of the Jordan just below the Sea of Galilee. This junglelike tangle of shrubs and trees—thorns, thistles, vines, willows, tamarisks, poplars and acacias—has been greatly thinned by wood-cutting during the past century and for security reasons more recently. To Lot, the thickets seemed to promise fertile farm land when he spied them from near Bethel (Genesis 13:3, 10–11). But he made a bad choice in taking the valley as his land, because the thickets were actually unsuitable for agriculture due to the river’s flooding during the harvest season.