Modern-Day Plagues? The Jordan River Turns Red Like Blood

By Kris W. Sky | Posted October 05, 2021

The Dead Sea is famous for its biblical significance. A Middle East crossroads bordered to the west by Israel and to the east by Jordan, this body of water has seen the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; it has surveyed a young David running for his life. And for centuries, it had concealed the whereabouts of thousands of archaeological gems proving the continuity of Scripture, the world-renowned Dead Sea Scrolls.

Then, on September 11, 2021, something else happened that once more called to mind scenes of biblical proportions. A pond on the Jordanian side of but completely separate from the Dead Sea turned red—as red as blood.

Now, you might very well be picturing pyramids and loads of dead fish, but not so fast. This was not a reenactment of the first plague upon Egypt.

Just for Looks

Early conjecture offered up a slew of explanations: “algae, iron oxide or the addition of substances by humans.” According to a Daily Mail article, “This [last] viewpoint was shared by many Jordanians who accused the government of covering up a source of pollution or their use of the pool as a dumping ground for waste chemicals.”

And in a country currently experiencing “a deepening water crisis,” with its “extreme water scarcity and wide disparities in public water supplies” making international news, this kind of irregularity is a big deal.

A couple weeks later, the answer to this mystery came via the Jordan Valley Authority, a Jordanian government agency in charge of the region’s water supply. On September 25, Roya News English, a news group based out of Jordan, reported, “The results of the test carried out on the red water … showed that the reason behind the appearance of the red color is due to the manganese found in the water.”

This isn’t uncommon. “Manganese is a naturally-occurring element” known for its prevalence in the Earth’s environment, “in the air, soil, and water.” It’s also in our food. A higher concentration of manganese generally changes water’s color reddish, similar to a high amount of iron. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “Both of these metals can cause staining of plumbing fixtures or laundry, but they are not known to cause health problems.”

It is still, however, unclear exactly how the pool acquired its elevated level of manganese.

Counterfeit Plague


Even before the Jordanian government publicized its test results, the Daily Mail depicted the plagues of the Exodus as a mere “biblical tale”; Sodom and Gomorrah were only “supposedly destroyed,” and as for their inhabitants, even “their ‘wickedness’” was called into question.

Unsurprisingly, this kind of media coverage serves to cast doubt upon the biblical record. The red water wasn’t a supernatural phenomenon; it was just something that looked like one, easily explained and thoroughly researched. You might call it a counterfeit.

But make no mistake. When God turned the entire Egyptian water supply into blood, it was an absolute, indisputable miracle, not a manmade environmental mishap or “purely aesthetic” food coloring.

“By this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river” (Exodus 7:17, 18), God instructed Moses to tell the pharaoh.

“Just as the LORD commanded” (v. 20), it came to pass. God’s hand was “over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, …. in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone” (v. 19). All the water “[became] blood …. throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Though the Egyptian sorcerers did indeed produce a counterfeit, that is all they could do (v. 22). They were powerless to countermand the judgments of the Almighty.

The Bible prophesies that similar plagues will occur in the last days before Christ’s return. In the second and third of seven plagues, Scripture tells us that once more God will turn waters in “the sea” (Revelation 16:3) and in “the rivers and springs of water” (v. 4) to blood. We can also conclude that this plague falls on only the wicked, “for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets”; therefore, God “[gives] them blood to drink. For it is their just due” (v. 6).

How much more did Christ desire another end for all people: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56), He said. Jesus Christ is the living Word, the Water of Life; “whoever drinks of the water that [Christ] shall give him will never thirst” (4:14). It is by this very “blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11) that God’s people are shielded from “The Seven Last Plagues.” 

Interestingly enough, Jesus’ first miracle on this earth was also to turn water into something else—into wine (John 2:9). In the Bible, wine symbolizes, among other things, doctrine (Isaiah 28:7); and pure, unfermented wine means the teachings of Christ, the Word of God.

Is that living Word more precious to you “than [your] necessary food” (Job 23:12)? Is it “sweeter than honey to [your] mouth” (Psalm 119:103)? What is “Feeding on Christ” all about? Find out by watching our presentation with Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Christ is calling to you: “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; …. come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). Receive the gift of salvation, your eternal life.

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.

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