Skip to main content

Search LearnTheBible


The Abana is one of the two rivers of Damascus (the other being the Pharpar) mentioned by the Syrian general Naaman in 864BC [Reese] as being “better than all the waters of Israel” (2 Kings 5:12). The rivers are not mentioned anywhere else in scripture and their identities have been disputed. However, the general consensus is that the Abana River is the same as the Barada that flows through Damascus. The following is a description of this river in the late nineteenth century by William Ewing in Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible:

“This ‘river of Damascus,’ the Chrysorrhoas of the Greeks, is identified with the Barada, to whose waters Damascus owes her life. Rising in the uplands near Baalbee, it drains the hollow in the bosom of Anti-Lebanon. ‘Ain el Barada, in the plain of Zebedâny, swells the stream, which then plunges down the deep picturesque gorge of Wady Barada. About 14 miles N.W. of Damascus, in a beautiful romantic spot in the heart of the hills, rises the mighty fountain el Fijeh (Greek, a spring); a river born in a moment, which, after a brief, foaming course, joins the Barada, more than doubling its volume. It then flows along the bottom of a deep, winding valley, shaded by beautiful and fruitful trees; bare, yellow rocks towering high on either hand above the green. About half the water is led captive along the eastern bank towards the city, the Beyrout [Beirut] road passing between the streams. Just where the precipitous cliffs advance as if to close the gorge, it escapes from the mountains, and, throwing itself out fanlike in many branches, waters the plain, supplies the city, and drains off into the northern two of the marshy lakes eastward.”