“When he had finished praying, 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)
The Kidron is the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, and the garden of Gethsemane is on one side of it. Jesus took His final walk on this earth across the Kidron before giving His life. His walk across the Kidron is significant. It illustrates a few weighty and meaningful truths that will help you reflect and experience His presence this holy week.
The Kidron valley carries a lot of historical and prophetic significance, but for today let’s focus on how Jesus’ journey across gives us fresh hope and what it means to your life in the season you are currently walking through.
Learn from the Kidron: Jesus’ nearness with you in your valley, His work in your life to free you from bondage to lesser things, and His ultimate plan to take all your dead places and redeem them for His glory.
What is your Kidron?
“Kidron” comes from a word meaning mourning and darkness. The image is one of a murky, death-filled and hopeless place.
Not only was this Jesus’ final path to Gethsemane, it was also where king David, barefoot and bleeding, crossed over when running from his treacherous son Absalom and temporarily losing the kingdom. (2 Samuel 15:23)
Kidron is the valley you cross when you are in the thickest, worst and most difficult part of your journey. This is the place you’re tempted to give up because it’s just too painful.
Truth is, we’re all in that terrible valley sometimes. The times when it really looks like there is no hope left. When you’ve experienced betrayal or are in the midst of great loss and pain. If you’re human, you certainly have one or will experience one at some point.
You need to know you have a living Savior who has walked this death valley first and can actually identify with you in your deepest point of suffering. Isaiah 53:3 tells us Jesus was a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” Friends are great when they try to help us through a difficult season, but the person you really listen to is the one who has been there before you.
Jesus has been there before you. He gets it. He knows what it is to suffer. He crossed Kidron long before you did. He is qualified to come alongside you.
Corrie ten Boom, one of my faith heroes that I can’t wait to meet in heaven, is an incredible example of walking with Jesus through a literal death valley. She and her family were dutch Christians who helped an estimated 800 Jews escape the Nazis during the holocaust. Her entire family was eventually captured and sent to concentration camps, Corrie and her sister going to the infamous Ravensbruck camp.
Corrie watched her sister perish and endured atrocities and innumerable sorrows that we struggle to comprehend, and thankfully will probably never experience. She had to walk through a hideous and terrifying hell on earth if ever there was one.
Even through her own Kidron, Corrie was strengthened in her faith and experienced the real help and presence of Jesus. She shared the gospel in the prison and saw many people saved. She was miraculously released from the camp and went on to start a worldwide ministry, even forgiving and ministering to former Nazis. She wrote a book about her life called The Hiding Place which was also made into a movie.
Because she endured the darkest of valleys with Jesus at her side, Her story will minister to countless thousands, if not millions for generations to come.
Corrie is quoted as saying “You may never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.”
Sometimes instead of pulling you out of the pit, Jesus jumps in there with you.
“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).
The Graves of Your Idols
Kidron is also a wasteland of dead idols as it was the place Israel would throw the remains of destroyed false gods. When they repented and purified their hearts and places of worship, they’d beat their carved images to powder and throw them in this brook (2 Kings 23:4-12, 2 Chronicles 15:16, 2 Chronicles 29:16).
It is significant that crossing this valley means walking right over the graves of fallen idols.
Every time God does something in your life and you decide He is better than anything else, an idol is destroyed and thrown into your Kidron.
The place of suffering and loss becomes the place where God sets you free from servitude to lesser things.
The false gods with their false promises and fake satisfaction are annihilated so they no longer define you. God now defines you and your journey, just as He walks with you over this place. The remains of what once held you captive will end up thrown into this Kidron where you will then walk over their graves, as God brings you into an ever-increasing closeness with Jesus.
“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14)
This very place, the place where you let go and throw down things that were taking you from God’s heart, is the place you cross over.
The Path to Purpose
The final message of Kidron is that when you are right in the thickest, worst and most difficult part of your journey, this also means you are on your way to fulfilling your God-given purpose. Yes, the valley happens, but you have Jesus’s example to look to and are never without hope.
Even as Jesus was walking over this valley of death, right into the darkest part of His journey, He was ultimately on His way to the culmination of God’s purpose for him. He would next reach Gethsemane where He would be betrayed and crucified, then rise from the dead to victory.
Stepping across the Kidron was the walk to fulfillment and destiny for Jesus.
Even the most desolate and hopeless places are paths where God is still leading you. In fact, He is intentionally leading you. They are places where you come closer to Jesus’ heart because of, not in spite of, your own suffering.
There is hope because the purpose God has already written for your life (Psalm 139:16) is realized on the other side of your particular valley.
God made a specific promise regarding the Kidron and His ultimate plan to redeem it and rebuild it for His sake: “The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse gate to the east, shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.” (Jeremiah 31:40)
God is going to redeem and rebuild your ruins and turn the darkest valley into a place of His glory. As Corrie put it, “with Jesus, even in our darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be.”
Let Jesus’ Journey Give you Strength
To those walking through a dark and painful valley, take time this week to remember the Lord’s journey and suffering and that He crossed it first so He could lead you through. Let Him give you the strength to breathe and keep taking one step after another. Remember He has gone before you, He is with you now, and will redeem your broken places for His glory.
To those not currently in a valley, take some time to reflect on what Jesus has done to defeat death and win ultimate victory over darkness. Praise Him for His triumph over sin and death and for His personal work in your own life. Then go out and share the love of Christ with someone who needs it.
This is what your steps across your Kidron really mean. The presence of Jesus in your time of greatest need. The work of God to purify and set you apart to Him. The realization of your God-given purpose. You will be able to say, “Though I suffered greatly, Jesus walked with me, set me free from my bondage to lesser things, and now is moving me past this valley into my destiny.”