The Jordan River Where Jesus Was Baptized

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. The Jordan River flows southward from Mount Hermon, which is located on the border of modern-day Syria and Lebanon, and drains into the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel today, a distance of roughly 156 miles. The Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Gennesaret (Luke 5:1) or the Sea of Tiberius (John 6:1, John 21:1), is just about a day’s walk from Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, and is a popular tourist destination (Matthew 2:19-23).

(Mark 5:21-43,Luke 8:22-25,Luke 9:10-17,John 6:16-21) Once it has emerged from the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River makes its way through the Judean countryside, being fed by two large tributaries, the Yarmouk and Jabbok (Genesis 32:22) to the east, until it ultimately merges with the Dead Sea, where it comes to a climax.

  • All of these streams are located within Jordan’s Rift Valley, a gigantic geological fissure that produces one of the world’s longest fissures and one of the world’s most profound natural depressions.
  • Jordan River is rather narrow and easy to cross in most places, despite the fact that it has lush, sandy shoreline and steep, rocky banks in certain locations.
  • 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. However, archeological evidence, historical writings, and the gospel accounts point to an area on the southern half 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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. The Holy Spirit will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, not with water, as I have done (Mark 1:7-8).
  4. Immediately following his baptism, Jesus rose to his feet out of the water.
  5. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am delighted,” a voice from heaven said.
  6. 3:16-17 (KJV) It is estimated that Jesus was around 30 years old at the time of his baptism.
  7. According to the apostle John, he stayed there and a large number of people came to him.
  8. And it was at that location that many people came to trust in Jesus.
  9. We’ll never know for sure, though it’s possible that the debate over which side 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. Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/stereostok

Where Else Is the Jordan River Mentioned in the Bible?

The Baptism of Jesus is not the only significant biblical event that takes place on the banks of the Jordan River. Two key Old Testament tales take place along the Jordan River, and the river plays an important role in both narrative. Following the Exodus from Egypt, the next generation of Israelites were finally ordered by God to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert as a punishment for their failure to believe in the Lord. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, God instructed Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan River, with the priest leading the caravan and carrying the Ark of The Covenant in front of them.

  1. After crossing the Jordan, the Israelites launched the invasion of Canaan that would follow.
  2. Years later, the prophet Elijah and his protégé Elisha escaped to the banks of the Jordan River, where they used the river as a natural barrier to defend themselves from threats from Israel’s king, who had come to kill them.
  3. Elijah was lifted up into heaven in a whirlwind and a chariot of fire after he had reached safety on the eastern side (2 Kings 2:11).
  4. The crossing of the Jordan River became a sign of God’s supernatural power, the affirmation of His favor, the fulfillment of promise, and the beginning of public ministry throughout the Bible’s narrative.
  5. Consequently, in many respects, this exact site on the Jordan River had both symbolic and strategic significance—something that John the Baptist would have been fully cognizant.
  6. Ryan is a children’s author, artist, educator, and public speaker living in Los Angeles who is enthusiastic about assisting young authors in expressing themselves creatively and learning about the glories of their Creator via narrative and art.
  7. This article is a part of a bigger resource library of Christian questions that are essential to the Christian faith that can be found on our website.
  8. We hope these articles will answer your concerns regarding Christian living.

What Do Christians Hold to be True? What is the age of the Earth? In the Bible, who is my neighbor and who isn’t? What Is the Appearance of God? Is the existence of Guardian Angels true? What Does It Mean to Be a God-Fearing Individual?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. ” During those days, Jesus traveled from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by the apostle John.
  3. Then he heard a voice from heaven say, “Thou are 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.
  4. Additionally, there are large changing rooms with showers and toilets for your convenience.
  5. 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.
  6. at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station.
  7. Hours of operation:From March to November, Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m.
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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 may 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 on 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 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

To get to where the river is currently, you’ll need to walk a little further down the road. It is nevertheless spiritual, even though the location of the water is not historically significant, unlike the traditional baptism site, because of the presence of water. It is the symbolism that the Jordan River conveys that is so significant. It is a place where Christians from all over the world may come and perform baptisms in the same river where John the Baptist performed one on Jesus 2000 years earlier.

Palestine is located on the other side of the world, close enough to have a discussion or hurl something.

The Jordan baptism location is quite peaceful today, although the other site is fairly crowded.

On the other side lies a territory known as Qasr el Yahud, which, despite the fact that it is located in Palestine, is controlled and governed by Israel.

In Israel’s view, this is a means of attracting Christian tourists and pilgrims who wish to visit the Jordan River in order to be baptized. They are attempting to entice guests who might prefer to go from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv rather than from Amman, with the assistance of some creative marketing.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Both nations officially withdrew from the EU on the first of January, 2019.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. A guy was baptized here, by a river in the middle of a desert, 2000 years ago.
  7. Some of that transition was accompanied by conflict from the beginning, and it is unfortunate that it is still occurring two millennia later.


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.


Andy Peiffer ’11 is a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. I believe I would have been an outstanding apostle. Long walks are something I enjoy doing. A diet consisting primarily of fish, healthy grains, and a small amount of wine is ideal for me. Most importantly, I have a remarkable and almost limitless capacity for failing when it comes to attempting to follow Jesus. Of course, I don’t consider myself to be among the great saints, but their errors, such as Peter’s in today’s gospel, offer a sinner like me reason to be optimistic.

  • “Get behind me, Satan!” What is the reason for the rebuke?
  • As we will see later, Peter was more concerned with Jesus’ impending suffering than he was with his own sorrow.
  • He appears to be walking on water, but he is actually sinking.
  • At the most critical moment of his arrest and trial, Peter rejects Jesus three times in the same breath.
  • Discipleship does not necessitate the attainment of perfection.
  • Days after accusing Peter of being Satan, Jesus summons him to the mountaintop to see his transfiguration.
  • Jesus chose imperfect individuals to be the foundation of his church.
  • The church is still comprised of flawed individuals.

We cannot accept our failures—Jesus’ scolding continues to ring in our ears as a call to repentance—but, with God’s grace, we may overcome our shortcomings. We have the option, like Peter, to continue walking with Jesus.

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.

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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.

  1. 3- The Mantle Chapel and the “Baptismal Pool,” which is a first of its kind.
  2. 670) in his noteworthy notes.
  3. The result is a massive cruciform baptismal pool in the design, into which pilgrims would descend via marble stairs and be baptized.
  4. As a matter of fact, this is the only cruciform baptismal pool on the planet that uses river water for its baptismal ritual.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. The place was meticulously detailed by Epiphanius in the second part of the eighth century.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. ‘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.

Matthew 3:13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

(13)After that, Jesus appears. – We have been brought here face to face with the question that the tale just cited was attempting to address, and we are unable to turn away from it completely: Why did the Lord Jesus show himself during John’s baptismal ceremony? The Sinless One had no sin to confess, and so had no need to repent. It is impossible for us to assign to Him the sense of evil that weighs upon their minds in nearly exact proportion to their purity; yet we must think that His righteousness was fundamentally human, and therefore capable of increasing even as He grew in wisdom and height.

  • It was proper that He should embrace a divine ordinance in order to fulfill the whole measure of righteousness in all of its manifestations, even though doing so appeared to bring Him in association with sinners.
  • (See Mark 1:19-11 and Luke 3:21-22 for parallel sections.) Verse 13: After that; in the future (ver.
  • In the midst of his preaching and baptism.
  • 1, note).
  • Because this is Mark’s first historical reference of our Lord, he adds the phrase “from Nazareth of Galilee,” meaning that our Lord has been a resident of Nazareth since our Lord’s birth.
  • As a contrast to the representative teachers from Jerusalem and the throngs that had gathered both there and in the Jordan valley (verse 5), this Stranger had traveled from Galilee to join them.
  • In this case, it is difficult to understand why the Revised Version inserts “the” here while leaving the Authorized Version unchanged in ver.
  • It is necessary to be baptized(o); Matthew 2:13, take heed.
  • Our Lord’s motivation for coming was not only to be baptized, but to be baptized by John the Baptist.
  • Commentaries that run in parallel.

Strong’s 5119 (Tote)Adverb: “Then, at that point in time.” From the words ho and hote, which means “when,” as in “at the time that.” JesusἸησοῦς(Iēsous) Noun – Nominative Masculine Form of Noun SingularStrong’s 2424:Of Hebrew origin; Jesus, the name of our Lord, and the names of two other Israelites are all mentioned in the Bible.

  1. Galilee Galalias (Galilaias) is a noun of the Genitive Feminine gender.
  2. toἐπὶ(epi) On, against, on the basis of, and at are examples of prepositions from Strong’s 1909: theτὸν(ton) In this article, we will look at the accusative masculine.
  3. This includes all of the inflections of the feminine he as well as the neuter to; the definite article; and the.
  4. to undergo baptismal rites βαπτισθῆναι(baptisthēnai) Aorist Infinitive Passive Aorist Infinitive Passive Strong’s 907 (Strong’s 907): I dunk, immerse, but especially refer to ceremonial dunks; I baptize is the literal translation.
  5. of place, or with verbs; of place (underneath) or where (below), or time (when).
  6. The reflexive pronoun self, which is used in the third person as well as the other persons, is derived from the particle au.
  7. Biblia Matthew 3:13 et cetera Paralela Matthew 3:13 (Chinese Version of the Bible) French translation of Matthew 3:13 in the Bible Gospel of Matthew 3:13 (Catholic Bible) Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew 3:13 is a biblical passage that teaches that God is love.

Then Jesus traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem (Matt. Mat Mt)

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).

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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.

  1. Rather than approaching the promised land, Elijah is departing from it.
  2. In many respects, Elijah has served as a modern-day Moses.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

When we jump ahead to the New Testament, we find that all of these motifs come together in a remarkable way with John’s baptism of Jesus. Matthew 11:14, Mark 9:9–13, and Luke 1:17 all refer to John as the ‘Elijah who was to come.’ A murderous queen, like the one who sought Elijah’s death (1 Kings 19:1-2; Mark 6:17–25), seeks his death. As with Elijah, his distinguishing feature was “a garment of hair around his waist, and. a leather belt around his waist” (2 Kings 1:8, Matthew 3:4). John, like Elijah, is a voice in the desert, a voice that must be heard.

Both were unsurpassed prophets (Deuteronomy 34:10; Matthew 11:11), and both spoke of a successor who would come after them (Deuteronomy 34:10; Matthew 11:11).

Just as John the Baptist is reminiscent of both Elijah and Moses, so too is John the Baptist’s successor reminiscent of both Elisha and Joshua.

As a result of his actions, he is credited with cleansing lepers (2 Kings 5:40–45), showing kindness to hostile troops (Matthew 8:5–13), reuniting a dead son with his mother (2 Kings 4:18–37, Luke 7:11–17), and feeding a large crowd with a few loaves of bread (2 Kings 4:42–44, Matthew 14:13–21).

He picks twelve men to be in the forefront of his conquest (Joshua 4:4, Matthew 10:1–8), and he saves misfits and integrates them into his people (Joshua 6:22–23, Luke 5:27–31).

Considering that Joshua and Elisha both got their commissions on the other side of the Jordan before immediately departing on their divine missions, it is reasonable to speculate that Jesus may have received his commission somewhere else as well.

Why Jordan?

With a quick jump to the New Testament, we find that all of these motifs come together in a remarkable way with John’s baptism of Jesus. (Matthew 11:14; Mark 9:9–13; Luke 1:17). John is the ‘Elijah who was to come.’ A murderous queen, like the one who sought Elijah’s death (1 Kings 19:1-2; Mark 6:17–25), seeks his destruction. He looked similar to Elijah, with his “hair garment and. a leather belt around his waist” (2 Kings 1:8, Matthew 3:4). When it comes to being a single voice in the desert, John is no different from Elijah.

  • In Deuteronomy 34:10 and Matthew 11:11, both foretold of a prophet who would come after them, and both prophesied of another who would come after them (Deuteronomy 18:15, John 1:27).
  • Jesus, like Elisha, is anointed with the Holy Spirit while at the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:15, Matthew 3:16).
  • Joshua spent his early years in Egypt, and Jesus does the same.
  • But, more significantly, just as Joshua fought those who worshiped the devil, Jesus defeated the devil himself.

Considering that Joshua and Elisha both got their commissions on the other side of the Jordan before immediately going on their divine missions, it is reasonable to speculate that Jesus received his commission somewhere else as well.

The symbolism of Jesus’ baptism at the Jordan river

This wasn’t just any body of water or puddle that Jesus was immersed in; this was the Jordan river, which was a major body of water at the time. This is noteworthy because this location was not chosen at random, but rather contains profound biblical meaning. Upon reaching the “Promised Land,” the people of Israel faced one more obstacle: the Jordan River, which they had to cross. It was necessary for the entire nation to cross the Jordan River in order to claim the land that God had designated as theirs.

In response, Joshua invited the Israelites to “come hither and hear what the Lord, your God, has to say to you.” “By this you will know that there is a living God in your midst: he will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites.” He went on to say: “By this you will know that there is a living God in your midst: he will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites The ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will cross the Jordan River ahead of you, according to the Scriptures.

Now pick twelve men, one from each of Israel’s twelve tribes, to serve as a bodyguard.

Joshua 3:9-13 (KJV) The Israelites then followed Joshua across the Jordan River, where they were delivered from their enemies and were given possession of the Promised Land.

Jesus is the New Joshua

In Hebrew, Jesus’ given name is Yeshua, which is a shortened variant of the name “Joshua.” Christ is subsequently transformed into “the New Joshua,” who leads God’s people through the waters of baptism, guiding them across the New Jordan River. The Catholic Church’s official catechism makes this relationship quite clear. The crossing of the Jordan River, through which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, an emblem of eternal life, serves as a kind of baptism.

It is the New Covenant that brings the promise of this fortunate inheritance to fruition.

CCC 1222Jesus’ baptism serves as a reminder that everything is vital, including the most minute elements of a location.

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.

During the Crusades, pilgrims were known to bring back phials of water from the Jordan River.

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.

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