The Kidron Valley didn’t look to be too far from the Temple of God. It wasn’t too far from the Holy City. The presence of God dwelt there. What pilgrim wouldn’t get excited looking at the temple? In fact, those making this trip could faintly see the brightly lit temple on the hill as they made their way through the Kidron Valley. This was their hope as they traveled up to Jerusalem. “If we could just make it to the temple.” It looked to be just a stone’s throw away. But the Kidron Valley also wasn’t very far from Golgotha. The place of the skull. The place that would come to be associated with the death of an innocent man—Jesus Christ. Despite Jerusalem and Golgotha looming, the Kidron Valley was a present reality for Jesus.
“When he finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.” (John 18:1)
Jesus’ Kidron Valley
A prologue of sorts. The final ascent of the King of Glory. An ascent that would cost his life. And the Kidron Valley seemed to be the perfect place for this ascent. The depth and angle of the valley (a 4,000-foot distance) caused the city and temple to cast a long shadow over it. So deep that many believe the Devil took Jesus to the southeast corner of the temple overlooking the Kidron Valley to tempt him to throw himself down the steep cliff. There are tons of burial sites around the Kidron, causing some to speculate that the resurrection will begin there. Deep valley. Shadows. Death. There’s no commentary on Jesus’ conversation as he walked through the Kidron. No commentary on the words he uttered as he surrendered himself to men bent on seizing him in Gethsemane, leading him through the Kidron to Jerusalem for a “mis”trial. But I’m pretty sure he may have whispered these words:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
It is said that David went through the Kidron as he fled Absalom. He penned Psalm 23 as a result. Shadows. Death. But…no fear. Knowledge of God’s presence directly impacts how you view valleys and death in your life.
What’s Your Kidron?
What’s your Kidron? A bad relationship? Bad credit? Death of a loved one? In a spiritually low place? We all have Kidron Valleys surrounding us at some point in our lives. And we might just have it all wrong. Most pilgrims would have said, “If I can just get to the temple.” And most of us today would say, “If I could just get to church.” But what sustains you in the valley? What sustains you until Sunday (or Wednesday rolls around)? Just what the Psalmist says. The presence of a God who led the Israelites on a daily basis in the wilderness.
Why don’t you take time and whisper that prayer today? Look at your valley and begin to mutter those words: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Watch your countenance change. Watch your legs regain their strength. Watch your joy return. Most of all, watch the One who is with you work things out for your good. You might walk through some valleys. Just don’t pitch a permanent tent there.