Where Was Jesus Baptized?
Located in the Jordan River, only a few miles north of the Dead Sea and around six miles east of Jericho, the Baptism of Jesus Christ is reported in all four Gospels as taking place in the Jordan River. However, it is generally agreed that Jesus’ baptism marked the beginning of his public ministry, not only because it fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and confirmed his divinity as the Son of God, but also because it marked the beginning of Jesus’ public mission.
Where Is the Jordan River?
Known in Hebrew as the Jordan River (Ha-Yarden), it is a significant geographical feature in the Middle East and a pivotal place in Israel’s history and the biblical narrative. Today, the almost 156 miles of the Jordan River run southward from Mount Hermon, located on the border of modern-day Syria and Lebanon, and empty into the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. The Sea of Galilee, often referred to as Lake Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1,John 21:1) is just about a day’s walk from Nazareth, the place where Jesus grew up (Matthew 2:19-23).
It was also a significant place in Jesus’ career (Matthew 4:13-22, Mark 4:1-34, Matthew 13:2, Matthew 5-7), and the setting for some of his most amazing miracles (Matthew 4:13-22, Mark 4:1-34, Matthew 5-7).
- The Jordan River, before it reaches the Dead Sea, serves as a natural boundary between Israel’s West Bank and the modern-day country of Jordan to the west.
- In truth, the Dead Sea, or Salt Sea as it is frequently known to, stands about 1,300 feet below sea level, the lowest place on earth.
- Shallow ponds and lesser tributaries are frequent in the Jordan River system outside of the main river flow, though.
- Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/thanasus
Where Was Jesus Baptized in the Jordan River?
The baptism of Jesus is described in all four gospels as taking place on the banks of the Jordan River at the hands of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin (Matthew 3,Mark 1:1-11,Luke 3:1-21,John 1:6-34) Identifying the actual place of Jesus’ baptism is difficult to determine. archaeological evidence, historical writings, and the gospel accounts all point to a region in the southern half of Jordan River, about five and a half miles north of the Dead Sea and a little more than six miles southeast of the city of Jericho, as being the location of the biblical city of Jericho.
- It was there, perhaps in between A.D.
- (John 1:28).
- From a strategic standpoint, this would have been an efficient location for John the Baptist to serve because it would have witnessed a significant flow of traffic from visitors coming from the Judean desert, Judea hill area, Jerusalem, and Jericho, to name a few destinations.
- I baptize you withwater, but he will baptize you with theHoly Spirit ” (Mark 1:7-8).
- In line with Old Testament prophesy and John’s promise, here, Jesus traveled from Galilee to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13;Mark 1:9).
- Immediately following his baptism, Jesus rose to his feet out of the water.
- “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am delighted,” a voice from heaven said.
- 3:16-17 (KJV) Jesus would have been around 30 years old at the time of his baptism.
- The apostle John writes:.there he stayed, and many people came to him.
–John 10:40-42, emphasis added Most scholars agree that Al-Maghtas, which means “baptism” or “immersion” in Arabic, was the most likely place for John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’ baptism today; but, many in modern-day Israel believe that Qasr el Yahud on Israel’s western banks is the most likely location.
Most evidence, however, points to the eastern side, the Jordanian side, being the true site of Bethany beyond the Jordan, John’s ministry, and Jesus’ baptism. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/stereostok
Where Else Is the Jordan River Mentioned in the Bible?
In all four gospels, Jesus is described as being baptized on the Jordan River by John the Baptist, who is his cousin and spiritual uncle (Matthew 3,Mark 1:1-11,Luke 3:1-21,John 1:6-34) Identifying the exact place of Jesus’ baptism is difficult to do. Archeological data, historical sources, and the gospel stories, on the other hand, point to a region on the southern part of the Jordan River, about five and a half miles north of the Dead Sea and a little more than six miles southeast of the city of Jericho, as the most likely location.
- When John the Baptist began his public preaching, it was in this location, perhaps between the years 26 and 29 A.D., that individuals were baptized in the Jordan River, at a location mentioned in John’s gospel as “Bethany beyond the Jordan” (John 1:28).
- From a strategic standpoint, this would have been an efficient location for John the Baptist to serve since it would have witnessed a significant level of traffic from visitors coming from the Judean desert, Judea hill area, Jerusalem, and Jericho, among other destinations.
- I baptize you withwater, but he will baptize you with theHoly Spirit ” (Mark 1:7-8).
- In line with Old Testament prophesy and John’s promise, here, Jesus traveled from Galilee to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13;Mark 1:9).
- Immediately following his baptism, Jesus rose to his feet in the water and began to preach.
- “This is my Son, whom I love; I am happy with him,” a voice from heaven said.
- 3:16-17 (New International Version) It is estimated that Jesus was around 30 years old at the time of his baptism.
- According to the apostle John, he stayed there and a large number of people came to him.
- There were many who believed in Jesus at that time.
- We’ll never know for sure, however it’s possible that the controversy over which bank of the Jordan River Jesus was baptized on has more to do with the two countries (Israel and Jordan) attempting to attract tourists than anything else.
The majority of evidence, on the other hand, refers to the eastern side, the Jordanian side, as the true site of Bethany beyond the Jordan, as well as the location of John’s ministry and the baptism of Jesus. Image courtesy of Getty Images/stereostok.com
The place where Jesus was baptized – Baptism Site
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he immediately rose to his feet in the water. The heavens were opened at that instant, and he witnessed the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.” (Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:16-17) According to the gospels and the testimony of pilgrims and visitors who have visited this revered spot, this site is legitimate in the same way. The archaeological sites that have been uncovered and the accompanying investigations that have been carried out recently reveal the remnants of five churches that were established as memorials to Jesus’ baptism in the 5th century and were each conceived and built in a distinctive way.
Finally, the formal letters given to the Royal Commission by numerous heads of churches from throughout the world serve as a capstone to the entire process.
John the Baptist Modern explorers uncovered the remnants and foundations of a significant number of sandstone piers associated with a Byzantine church erected during the reign of Emperor Anastasius II, about 9 kilometers north of the Dead Sea, about east of the Jordan River and about 9 kilometers north of the Dead Sea (491-518 AD).
John the Baptist.
John the Baptist, which the Emperor Anastasius built: this church is very lofty, being built above large chambers, because the Jordan River overflows when it rains.” Although the pillar indicating the spot where the Lord was baptized has not yet been located, the archaeological and architectural remnants found at the site correspond to what Theodosius stated as the location of the baptismal site.
“We celebrated Epiphany at the side of the, and marvels take occur on that night in the site where the Lord was baptized,” Antoninus Martyr of Piacenza wrote forty years later (A.D.
At the location where the water returned to its bed, there is a mound surrounded by railings, and at the location where the water returned to its bed,’marble stairs fall into the water,’ and the priest descends into the river.” The marble stairs that were recently unearthed and preserved are very similar to those that were reported more than 1400 years ago.
- 3- The Mantle Chapel and the “Baptismal Pool,” which is a first of its kind.
- 670) in his noteworthy notes.
- The result is a massive cruciform baptismal pool in the design, into which pilgrims would descend via marble stairs and be baptized.
- As a matter of fact, this is the only cruciform baptismal pool on the planet that uses river water for its baptismal ritual.
- The marble floor was found to be tilted towards the west and to have fallen ashlars directly over the southwest part of the marble pavement.
The “Lower Basilica” was built at a higher ground level than the surrounding ruins, and it was designed in a different manner from both the mantle chapel and the John the Baptist Church, which were both built high above piers to protect them from floods caused by the River Tiber, as previously mentioned.
- John the Divine (The Church of The Trinity) Despite the fact that it was constructed at a higher ground level than the surrounding structures, just a small portion of the Basilica has survived.
- In order to avoid destroying the foundations of previous constructions (such as the lower basilica and the John the Baptist Church), the basilica’s construction made use of the remnants of these structures as foundations, particularly for its northern and southern walls.
- There are several notable features in the middle aisle, including the sandstone foundations of the chancel screen, a rectangular apse measuring 7.6 meters in length, and the altar (0.8m x 0.8m), which is also formed of sandstone.
- A rosette is depicted on the vase’s northeastern corner.) Located directly east of the sanctuary wall is a hall that is 4m wide and 6m long, which is a distinctive feature of this Basilica.
- The place was meticulously detailed by Epiphanius in the second part of the eighth century.
- The chapel’s remaining structures demonstrate that it was constructed using materials that were comparable to those used in the construction of all of the churches described above.
- An entrance, 1.6m wide, was located in the middle of the northern wall, leading to the chapel, which today only has the whitish bedding of the pavement as its only remaining feature.
- ‘The spot where Christ was baptized is as far away from the river as a man may hurl a tiny stone,’ observed Abbot Daniel (ad.
1106-1107), according to his writings. There is a little chapel with an altar on the property. This is the location where our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Forerunner.” The chapel has recently been renovated, and a shelter has been built to safeguard the chapel’s delicate remnants.
The controversy over the Baptism of Jesus
The majority of experts think that Jesus was baptized at this location along the Jordan River. You may now go to the precise place where John baptized Jesus Christ, thanks to new technology. It might be difficult to distinguish between the guy and the movement at times. This is especially true when the movement has been developed entirely on the individual. However, in order to have a meaningful conversation about Jesus and history, we must temporarily set faith aside and take a step back to see the big picture.
- However, none of this can be proven.
- Some historians even claim that Jesus did not exist at all and that he was a fictitious character constructed only for the purpose of serving as a leader for a new religious movement.
- They just can’t seem to come to terms with who he was and what he accomplished.
- He was described as a charming healer, but some claim he was a political dissident and rebel.
- Because there is so little true personal data about him from that era of his life, it is likely that there will never be a way to know for certain.
- However, there is sufficient evidence for the majority of historians to agree on two points about the historical accuracy of the life of Jesus.
Baptism site Jordan
Not only do the vast majority of people accept that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, but there is now widespread agreement as to where the baptism took place. Furthermore, it’s located right here in Jordan. In some ways, determining the location of the Jordan baptism site was very straightforward. Scholarly study and archaeological evidence were used in the creation of this work. According to the Bible, there is a site called “Bethabara beyond Jordan” or “Bethany beyond Jordan” where John the Baptist conducted his rites and which is referred to as “Bethany beyond Jordan.” And there is a spot near the Jordan River that is indicated with the name “Bethabara” on the renowned Madaba Map of mosaics that I have previously discussed.
Archaeologists were able to discover the ruins of ancient structures at a location known as Al-Maghtas as a result of their work from that point on.
The churches, chapels, monasteries, and hostels were built to accommodate pilgrims who would come to the site and then travel on to other historically significant sites in the surrounding region thereafter.
Archaeologists, on the other hand, have been able to pinpoint the exact location where they believe Jesus was baptized.
Visiting the baptism site
I’m going to the Jordan baptism site as an optional extra on my G Adventures tour of Jordan, which is a wonderful opportunity to experience all of the country’s highlights in one trip. You’ll note immediately when you arrive to the baptism site in Jordan that it is surrounded by a collection of churches that have been constructed by people of various religions, each of which has provided a place for their adherents. The presence of so many Christian structures in Jordan, a country with a mostly Muslim population, is intriguing; nonetheless, it should be remembered that this was formerly the Holy Land.
- The majority of visitors do not pay a visit to these relatively new churches.
- That’s where Jesus was baptized, at this location.
- It is surrounded by the foundations of a structure that is no longer there.
- In some respects, it’s a little weird to be looking at this webpage and thinking about baptismal services.
- The Jordan River has shifted somewhat further west over the past 2000 years, which has contributed to this shift.
The Jordan River baptism
Jordan baptism location is an optional addition on my G Adventures trip across Jordan, which is a fantastic way to see all of the country’s highlights. You’ll note immediately when you get to the baptism site in Jordan that it is surrounded by a collection of churches that have been constructed by people of various religions, each of which has provided a place for their followers. In a nation with a mostly Muslim population, it is unusual to find so many Christian structures, but it is important to remember that this was formerly known as “the Holy Land.” Other places of the globe may be experiencing the most effect from Christianity nowadays, but this is where it all began.
- Instead, you’ll stroll down a trail through a light woodland until you reach the archaeological remnants of churches that are thousands of years old.
- A ceremonial pool in the shape of a cross is located in the heart of the complex, and stairs lead down to it.
- Several modest chapels and churches dating from various eras following the Baptism of Christ may be found around the pool’s perimeter.
- Because there is so little water in this area (and often none at all), and because there is so little in the way of infrastructure, The Jordan River has shifted slightly westward in the last 2000 years, which has contributed to this shift in direction.
In addition, Al-Maghtas has not been used or maintained on a consistent basis since its construction.
A World Heritage Site
While there is no disagreement regarding the spiritual significance of the waters of the Jordan River, I believe it is a little deceptive to suggest that Qasr el Yahud in Palestine, rather than Al-Maghtas in Jordan, is the Baptism Site of Jesus. Over the years, there has been some controversy concerning the specific location of Jesus’ baptism, and it is not surprise that the Israelis would want people to believe that it took place on their side of the river. However, a choice has already been taken.
- The world community came to a unanimous decision — despite the fact that the official text states that there is no way to definitively determine where Jesus was baptized and that there are competing claims to the spot.
- However, two years later, in 2017, both the United States and Israel declared that they were withdrawing from UNESCO due to what they regarded to be anti-Israel prejudice.
- Both nations officially withdrew from the EU on the first of January, 2019.
- I make an effort not to worry about the debate as I sit down by the river, take off my shoes and socks, and dangle my feet in the flowing water.
- Across the street from us, a pretty big group of well-dressed individuals are singing as they prepare to begin a baptism ceremony on the other side of the street, surrounded by more luxurious equipment.
- A guy was baptized here, by a river in the middle of a desert, 2000 years ago.
- Some of that transition was accompanied by conflict from the beginning, and it is unfortunate that it is still occurring two millennia later.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JORDAN?
See my Jordan Travel Guide for more information. When I go overseas, I make it a point to purchase travel insurance. In the event of a medical emergency or other major disaster, it is not worth the risk to take the chance. I strongly advise you to use World Nomads for your travel arrangements.
Tara Reilly is a model and actress. Development Regional Director for the Western Hemisphere Love and healing from Christ know no boundaries. It is possible that the answers to our prayers will not come immediately. It may not even be the solution we had anticipated and wished for, but one thing is certain: Christ brings about life-changing healing when the moment is right for him to do so. All that is necessary is that you be trustworthy. For the majority of my adult life, I’ve attempted to hide my fear of the unknown by exerting complete control over every aspect of my daily existence.
- When infertility brought tears and frustration early in my marriage, I went through a period of agony.
- When I witnessed my adolescent child battling with anxiety and being unable to provide consolation, I was filled with sadness.
- God, on the other hand, has taught me patience through suffering and has provided me with insight and healing.
- As I’ve grown more adept at managing my own anxieties over the years, I’ve been able to pass on that calm and strength to my kid.
- If I put my confidence in him, he will take my hand and lead me in the right direction.
All I have to do now is keep my gaze set on Jesus. If we all work together to achieve this, Christ will be able to provide us with the healing we so sorely need.
Celebrating Baptism: The Jordan River in the Time of Jesus
Flowing through the Jordan Rift Valley, the Jordan River spills into the Sea of Galilee and then continues down into theDead Sea, where there is no outlet for it. It has played host to a number of significant biblical events. Most Christians, on the other hand, would associate the river with the scene of Jesus Christ being baptized by John the Baptist, which took place there. Following the Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem and Golgotha in Jerusalem as the most sacred sites in the Holy Land, the Jordan River is regarded as the third most sacred site in the Holy Land by Christians.
- John the Baptist is a biblical figure.
- The Essenes, who were living an austere life in the wilderness of Qumran or Ein Gedi around the time of John’s death, are thought to have had an impact on him, according to several academics.
- It seemed as though the Jordan River were a perfectmikvahwith continually flowing water.
- The Gospel of Matthew depicts him as the person prophesied by Isaiah in his prophecy: “A voice of one calling out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, create straight paths for him.'” (See Isaiah 40:3 for further information).
- The Holy Spirit and fire will be poured forth on you as a baptismal washing.” (See Matthew 3:11) The Baptism of Jesus and Its Implications Christ was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, who was also known as the Baptist.
- When he looked up, he saw the heavens open and the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.
- Baptism with water, which has been practiced since the founding of the Church, symbolizes acceptance into the Christian community and is required for salvation in the Catholic Church.
When we are baptized, we are doing it in the name of God: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” 28:19) (Matthew 28:19) Aside from that, Christians equate baptism with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as follows: “And this water represents baptism, which now saves you through Jesus Christ’s resurrection.” (3:21) (1 Peter 3:21) Different Christian faiths have different procedures when it comes to baptism.
- Christian infants, both Orthodox and Catholic, are receiving the sacrament at the age of one or two.
- However, according to the customs of the Orthodox and other Eastern churches, a newborn would be entirely submerged in water during the baptismal ceremony.
- Qasr el Yahud is the location of Jesus’ baptism.
- The location lies in the wilderness of the Jordan River Valley, north of the Dead Sea and east of Jericho, and is accessible only by boat.
- Being baptized at the same spot where Jesus was baptized is a spiritual high point for any Christian believer who has the opportunity.
- Showers, prayer facilities, wheelchair access, and better parking are all available on-site, in addition to other amenities.
- (35 IL).
This ceremony takes place at Qasr el Yahud, which is located in the Holy Land.
There are also more biblical events associated with Qasr el Yahud.
Joshua, in command of the Israelites, crossed the Jordan River and entered the Land of Canaan at that point (Joshua 3).
How to get there: Qasr el Yahud is located close north of the Dead Sea, on the Jordan River.
Drive roughly 2.5 km (1.5 miles) until you reach a grove, and then turn east in the direction of a sign indicating Qasr al-Yahud, which is the location of the tombs.
Hiring a cab driver or going on a private tour can be a good idea.
to 5 p.m.
in the winter, except on Fridays, when it is open from 8 a.m.
in the summer and until 2 p.m.
There is no entrance fee for this event.
Yardenit A large number of pilgrims travel to the Holy Land with the express purpose of being baptized in the Jordan River; as a result, the site of Yardenit was established in 1981 as a result of the closure of Qasr el Yahud, which occurred at the time as a result of the unrest in the region’s political situation.
- It is a special feature of Yardenit that is made up of panels in several languages that show a passage from Mark that describes Jesus’ baptism.
- ” During those days, Jesus traveled from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by the apostle John.
- Then he heard a voice from heaven say, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am pleased.” (Matthew 1:9-11) All those who have undergone baptism at this location have their names inscribed on ‘The Wall of New Existence,’ which represents the beginning of their new life.
- Additionally, there are large changing rooms with showers and toilets for your convenience.
- If you want to go by public transit from Jerusalem, Egged bus961, which continues to Yardenit, departs from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station at 2:15 p.m.
- at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
- Hours of operation:From March to November, Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m.
to 4 p.m.
to 5 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m.
In order to confirm the site’s operating hours for the main Jewish holidays, call (04) 675-9111.
Tours available on a daily basis: You may visit Qasr El Yahud as part of the Qasr el Yahud and West Bank trip, which departs from Jerusalem on Saturdays and brings you to the West Bank.
Alternatively, you can hire a private guide to accompany you (and combine many other area sites as well, including Mt.
Temptations, Jericho, Qumran, and the Dead Sea). Beata Andonia is employed by the Bethlehem tourism bureau and writes a regular blog about Bethlehem for Travelujah-Holy Land Tours about her experiences there. Her home country of origin is Poland, and she relocated to Bethlehem in 2010.
The special place of Jesus’ baptism
Wikimedia Commons is the source of this image. Barb Ernster contributed to this article. – The Holy Land is considered to be the fifth gospel, according to some. The location where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River is a significant aspect of the narrative. From a geographical standpoint, it is located in Jordan on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, near the Israeli border. Due to its placement on top of a fault line between two main plates, the Jordan River empties into the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on the planet below sea level and has the lowest elevation below sea level in the world.
- One has to ask if the fact that Jesus gets baptized and begins his ministry at this location is only a coincidence.
- Biblically speaking, this region has a long and illustrious history, one of which John the Baptist was undoubtedly aware, and it was a significant destination for Jews in the first century.
- Moses did not reach the land “flowing with milk and honey,” as God had said, but rather died and was buried on Mount Nebo, a short distance away.
- Located at a point where the river narrows to around 50 feet in width, this place is a popular picnic spot.
- One can view Qumran from the Jordanian side of the border; this is the site where the ancient Dead Sea scrolls were found.
- Jesus then returned across the Jordan River to the site of John’s baptism, where he resided for the rest of his life.
- Imagine that this hallowed region, where God’s message resided, was a sanctuary of isolation and protection for Jesus in the face of the authorities’ hatred toward him throughout his time here on earth.
In it, Elijah rode up to heaven on the backs of horses of fire after striking the Jordan River with his chariot so that he and Elisha might pass across on dry ground.
2:1-12] A “double share” of Elijah’s spirit is given to Elisha as a result of this.
John the Baptist that this incident and the prophesy that Elijah would return before the day of the Lord were significant, and he spoke about both (Mal 3:23).
Despite the fact that John did not claim to be Elijah or the prophet who was to precede the Messiah (cf.
He referred to John the Baptist as “.Elijah, the one who is to come” and described him as “.the one who is to come” (Mt 11:14).
The connection between John and Elijah is established once more by Jesus after the Transfiguration, when He and the apostles are on their way down the mountain.
“Elijah will definitely come first and restore all things (by baptism),” Jesus says in the parable.
Archaeologists dug the region east of the Jordan River in 1996 and uncovered the site where John was performing his baptisms, which they named the Baptismal Site.
The excavations found more than 20 churches, caverns, and baptismal pools that date back to the Roman and Byzantine periods, according to the report.
During Joshua’s journey to deliver the Israelites into their promised land, in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, the waters of the Jordan River split and provided a route for them to follow.
When Jesus is baptized, He divides the waters of the Jordan with His own Body, guiding His people to the promised land of heaven through the sanctifying waters of the Jordan River.
“The Savior desired to be baptized, not so that He might be cleaned Himself, but so that the water may be purified for us.” St. Augustine is a saint who lived in the fifth century. Spread the word about this article:
Jesus’ baptism site in Jordan, not Israel, Catholic archbishop clarifies
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has reiterated that Jesus Christ’s baptism took place on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, in the country of Jordan, as previously stated. The Catholic Church has designated ” Bethany Beyond Jordan, ” a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the location where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ, according to tradition. The declaration was delivered by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa in order to dispel any ambiguity regarding the location of the historic Christian site.
The effort was initiated by the Israeli government.
It has traditionally been on this side, historically, and according to the Bible.” It was more than 25 years ago that the site known as “Bethany Beyond Jordan” was discovered, exposing church foundations from the Romans and Byzantines.
Since then, “Bethany Beyond Jordan” has developed into a popular pilgrimage destination, attracting more than 100,000 tourists every year.
A boon to tourism
As part of an interview with CNS, Archbishop Pizzaballa described the St. John the Baptist church on Israel’s western border as a “tourism destination.” Although it is located in the neighborhood of “Bethany Beyond Jordan,” he asserted that it was not the location of Jesus’ baptism. “There are millions of pilgrims on the other side (Israel and the West Bank), and they want to learn more about the location,” he explained further. Their justification is that we have millions of pilgrims who are unable to get to Jordan, therefore we provide this side.
Two popes provided counsel to UNESCO, which ultimately resulted in the decision.
It was this attitude that was reinforced by the presence of Pope Benedict XVI when he visited the site in 2009.
The chapel of St.
Because it is located just over the river from the Jordanian Baptismal Site, it is projected to become a prominent tourist destination with the construction of multiple churches. More information may be found at: Mass will be resumed at the West Bank church following the removal of a landmine area.
The Baptismal Site of the Jordan River
The trek to the baptismal location of Christ at the Jordan River in the city of Jericho, which is just an hour and 40 minutes away from Bethlehem and Jerusalem, is a descend to the lowest point of elevation on the planet, which is the lowest place on the planet. It is also considered to be one of the most hallowed locations in Christian tradition. Christ was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist, on the banks of the Jordan River, according to Matthew 3:13-17, following which he fasted in the Judean Desert for 40 days.
Historically, this baptismal site near the Jordan River has been recognized in local tradition since at least the early Byzantine era, and it is known by the Arabic name of Qasr al-Yahud.
While pilgrims during the Crusades were known to bring back phials of water from the Jordan River, a continuing tradition in Greece and the Balkan Chrisitian communities is to add the prefix “Hadji” or “Hatzi,” which means pilgrim, to one’s family name after the symbolic baptism has been conducted.
Two Different Locations for the Baptismal Site
Many modern travelers are familiar with the Yardenit baptismal park, which is located near the mouth of the Jordan River on the southern side of the Sea of Galilee, near the site of Jesus’ baptism. In addition to being visually appealing and providing an accurate representation of what the Jordan River near Jericho would have looked like in centuries past, when the water table was significantly higher, the park was built for pilgrims during periods when access to the traditional baptismal site of Qasr al-Yehud was unavailable due to inaccessibility.
Following the Six-Day War of 1967, the state of Israel seized control of the West Bank, which included the actual “west bank” of the Jordan River, which included the location of the Baptism of the Prophet Muhammad.
However, when ties between the two countries began to improve, plans to reopen the site began to come into being.
Today, pilgrims can visit the site on a daily basis, where they can participate in the ritual of baptism in their own language, cultural, and religious tradition in a specially cordoned-off section of the river, or simply find a quiet spot in the shade of one of the many sitting areas at the site to sit and contemplate the River.
The ambitious development project that the Kingdom of Jordan has undertaken to increase pilgrimage tourism to their partition of the Jordan River is also visible at the site; this project allows virtually every Christian community to build a church and a visitor center or guesthouse along an allotment of land that has been parceled to their denomination is also visible at the site.
Integrate Yourself Into the Tradition To visit the baptismal site is to participate in one of the most important Christian traditions, as well as to witness the coming together of many people and traditions from different lands, all with the same goal: to be renewed in their faith through the waters of the Jordan River, which runs through the site.
Why was Jesus baptised in the River Jordan? — by Mark Barnes
According to the Bible, there are more than 1,000 separate places named, ranging from Abana (2 Kings 5:12) to Zuph (Joshua 1:5). (1 Samuel 9:5). However, we have a tendency to dismiss the locations as if they were only incidental to the Bible’s account. We’re interested in learning what happened; the location of the event does not appear to be very significant. As a result, other from a few well-known locations such as Jerusalem and Bethlehem, most of us are unfamiliar with the locations mentioned in our Bible.
I came to realize that the locations weren’t just an afterthought in the plot; they were an integral part of it.
For example, Jesus could not have been baptized in the Jabbok river; he had to have been baptized in the Jordan river.
New life — but also a barrier
During biblical times, the Jordan River served as both a source of life and a huge obstacle to go across. On a much lesser scale than the Nile, it serves as a source of life in a similar way to the Amazon. Jordan Valley has little precipitation, yet the river encourages the growth of abundant vegetation. It is for this reason that people have chosen to live on the banks of the river for millennia. The Jordan, on the other hand, is a formidable obstacle. It acted as a natural barrier, as do most large rivers.
The Jordan River served as the boundary between the promised land and the rest of the world, and it continues to be a strong barrier even now – you have to traverse a minefield to get to the single bridge that crosses it!
A life returned
The narrative of Naaman illustrates the life-giving characteristics of the Jordan in a metaphorical way, as well. This Syrian commander comes to Elisha in order to be healed of leprosy, and Elisha instructs him to take a wash in the Jordan River. The river finally wins Naaman over, despite his protestations that it contains nothing remarkable. His flesh is healed as if he’d been granted a second chance at life (2 Kings 5:14). This tells Naaman that he cannot separate geography from theology, no matter how much we may want him to.
He returns to Syria carrying numerous bags of Israelite dirt (v17), presumably to guarantee that he always kept something of Israel with him, no matter where that would take him (see also: verses 1–2).
The barrier crossed
Because Jordan served as a physical barrier, many of the legends that have been told about it relate its passage. Joshua leads Israel over the Jordan Torrent after forty years in the desert, with God miraculously halting the swollen river, just as he had done with the Red Sea (Joshua 3–4). The prophets Elijah and Elisha appeared beside the same river at a nearly same location (near Jericho, 2 Kings 2:4–6) some hundred years after the first encounter. Before Elijah ascends to heaven, the river parting separates them and they both cross over on dry land.
- Rather than approaching the promised land, Elijah is departing from it.
- In many respects, Elijah has served as a modern-day Moses.
- At Sinai, both Moses and Elijah had experiences with God while hiding in a cleft or cave and fasting for 40 days (Exodus 34:28, 1 Kings 19:8).
- At the conclusion of their life, they both travel to be with their God, who is just a short distance away from the promised land.
- As a result, when Elijah crosses the Jordan River to go to heaven, it isn’t so much that he is abandoning the promised land as it is that he is following in Moses’ footsteps.
- Both Elisha and Joshua have names that are close to one another: Elisha means “God is salvation,” while Joshua means “the Lord saves.” Elisha is following in the footsteps of his forefathers, Elijah and Joshua.
- Both Elisha and Joshua were commissioned on the other side of the Jordan.
(2 Kings 2:18-22). Similarly to Joshua, Elijah will offer mercy to an enemy (Rahab in Joshua 6, Naaman in 2 Kings 5), and then they will inflict God’s punishment on Israelites who steal in the aftermath of victory (Achan in Joshua 7, Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:27–28), much as Joshua did.
Greater than Moses
Because Jordan served as a physical barrier, many of the legends that have been told about it revolve around its passage. As Israel marches over the Jordan River after forty years in the desert (Joshua 3–4), God miraculously stops the floodwaters, just as he had done with the Red Sea (Joshua 3) In 2 Kings 2:4–6, Elijah and Elisha were standing along the same river, at a nearly same spot (near Jericho). It was many hundred years later. Before Elijah ascends to heaven, the water parting allows them to pass across on dry land.
- Rather of entering the promised land, Elijah is about to depart from the country.
- A new Moses has emerged in the person of Elijah.
- At Sinai, both Moses and Elijah had experiences with God while hiding in a cleft or cave for 40 days and fasting (Exodus 34:28, 1 Kings 19:8).
- Each passes away in the presence of their God, just a few miles from from the promised land.
- In other words, when Elijah crosses the Jordan River on his way up to heaven, he is not abandoning the promised land; rather, he is following in the footsteps of his forefathers, Moses and Aaron.
- (Their names are similar as well: Elisha means ‘God is salvation,’ while Joshua means ‘the Lord rescues.’) After both Elijah and Joshua, Elisha is following in their footsteps.
- Both Elisha and Joshua were commissioned on the other side of the Jordan.
- The prophet Elijah, like Joshua, will offer mercy to an adversary (Rahab in Joshua 6, Naaman in 2 Kings 5), and then soon thereafter, they will deliver God’s punishment on Israelites who steal after winning a battle (Achan in Joshua 7, Gehazi in 2 Kings 5:27–28).
For the first time since Joshua and Elisha, Jesus had not emerged from the Jordan on dry ground, as did Joshua and Elisha. God saved their lives, but he did not spare the life of his own Son. While breaking through the water barrier that separated the desert from the promised land, he was submerged beneath the surface of the water and then resurrected to life; dying like Moses as a penalty for sin, and being revived like Elijah as a vindication of his righteousness. As a result, when Jesus arose from the Jordan after his baptism, he wasn’t simply portraying our need for purification from sin.
As an intentional indication, God was beginning a new conquest, following in the footsteps of Moses and Elijah, Joshua and Elisha, and bringing what they had begun to a successful conclusion.
He would rescue God’s people from the clutches of the powers of wickedness. He would be the one to bring them into the promised land. What was the purpose of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan? It’s inconceivable that it could have happened somewhere else.