it will crank when connected to another running car with jumper cables. when you remove the cables it just goes dead and wont crank again until it connected back to the other running car
Sounds like a dead battery that won't hold a charge. The van cranks when it's on jumper cables because the other vehicle's battery is doing all the work.
Take your battery to a local auto parts store and ask them to test it. I'd say there's a 99.9% chance they'll tell you the battery is a goner.
Replace the battery.
If it will start on jumper cables but dies when they're removed, it's also possible/likely that the alternator is shot, too. Put the new battery in your van and drive directly back to the parts store. Have them test the alternator - you may have to replace that as well.
You do not want to drive too far on your brand new battery - you could end up killing it. If it's very far to the store, take both the alternator and battery in and have them bench test both.
It's likely that the alternator died and you were driving off just the battery. Since the battery got little to no charge coming in, running the van completely killed the battery so it'll no longer hold a charge.