2 Valleys Tell 1 Story

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

Two deep valleys that surround Jerusalem are mentioned several times in the Bible. 

The Kidron Valley can be seen today as it runs between the city wall of Jerusalem’s eastern edge and the Mount of Olives. In Bible times, a dry stream bed called a “wadi” flowed through it. However, this stream bed isn’t visible today. It has been replaced with a modern road.

This valley is famous for various burial sites, including Absalom, David’s son who rebelled against him. Jewish people love David and hate Absalom, so for centuries they threw rocks at the monument marking Absalom’s tomb. Until the entire area was covered! In 1952 the rocks were cleared so that today tourists can see the tomb.

The tomb of an ancient priest, Zechariah, is also located in the Kidron Valley. 

Parts of the Kidron Valley were also used by priests during King Hezekiah’s reign. They removed pagan objects from the temple and carried them off to be dumped into the valley. 

A much worse dumping ground took shape in the Hinnom Valley. Long before Jesus taught and healed in Jerusalem, and long before the Old Testament Israelites lived in Jerusalem, pagan religions sacrificed babies to their god, Molech. 

Sad to say, some of the Israelite leaders copied this practice, and the Bible tells us that the place they committed this sin was the Valley of Hinnom (2 Chronicles 28:1-3; 33:6).

During Jesus’ time, the Valley of Hinnom became a garbage dump outside the city of Jerusalem. Dead animal carcasses and household waste was left there. Oftentimes the heaps of waste would catch fire and smolder for days, emitting a foul odor and clouds of smoke.

That sight became an image for hell. The Greek word for Hinnom is Gehenna, the word Jesus used when he taught about “the judgment of hell” (Matthew 23:33).

Valleys are usually low places, and often dark places. When Jesus came, he walked in both of these valleys. He frequently crossed the Kidron Valley, even doing so on the night he was betrayed, arrested and put on trial. 

“Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it” (John 18:1).

That night, Jesus began his ultimate suffering and death as the promised Savior of the world.

Valleys always serve the purpose of our God and Savior. They are never too low for him. They are never too dark for him. They are never too foul, never too foreboding. Jesus can easily cross them. Then, and today.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, you cross valleys and use them for your saving work. When I’m surrounded by valleys—deep and dark—fill them with your promises. Help me lead others through their valleys, assuring them of you by their side. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: Memorize Psalm 23:4. Say it at least 10 times today, and at least a few times speak it to a friend.