Nice 2-Minute Video on Jesus’ Baptismal Site in Jordan
by Steve Ray on September 2, 2017
We know where Jesus was baptized. It was on the Jordan side of the Jordan River. The site is called Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan as mentioned in John 1:28. This is a nice little 2 minute video about this site.
You will also see this site in great detail in our upcoming documentary on Elijah & Elisha – and you can see it in person in Jan-Feb 2018 and Sept 2018 when we take two pilgrimage groups to this exact spot.
Sorry for the stupid 30 second advertisement that pops up first – argh!
For my previous blog post on this site from when we were last there with maps, pictures, etc., click here.
Come, meet Jesus on Jordan’s bank
By Jordan Tourism Board NA | September 1, 2017
From Aleteia On-line: Visiting Jordan, you walk in the footsteps of Joshua, Elijah, John the Baptist, and Christ Himself.
There is a place on earth where the heavens opened, not once, but twice. When you stand here, on the banks of the Jordan River, the sun on the water dazzling your eyes and the wind stirring the leaves and grasses of this oasis, you are not alone. You stand in the company not only of your fellow pilgrims and travelers, but of thousands of wanderers and seekers across the millennia. And you walk in the footsteps of Jesus Himself.
Listen. You can hear the splash of wilderness-weary feet entering the stream. Not far from where you stand, Joshua assumed the leadership of the Israelites after Moses’ death, and led the people at last across this very river into the Land of Promise.
In the 4th century, the wealthy pilgrim Egeria stopped here. She noted in her diary, “Setting out from Jerusalem and journeying with holy men, with a priest and deacons from Jerusalem and with certain brothers, that is monks, we came to that spot on the Jordan where the children of Israel had crossed when holy Joshua, the son of Nun, had led them over Jordan.” Egeria and her companions stood on this holy ground and prayed, as pilgrims have been doing for centuries before and after her.
Listen. Can you hear the roar of a whirlwind? Very near here, the prophet Elijah struck the river with his mantle and the waters rolled aside, so he and his follower Elisha could cross on dry land. Here Elisha asked for a double share of Elijah’s spirit, and then the heavens opened for the first time:
As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” (2 Kings 2:12-13)
Now, listen. Hear “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the ways of the Lord, make his paths straight!’” In this very spot John began baptizing sinners. You stand in the crowd, you hear him say, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” And as John’s Gospel recounts, “This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.” (John 1:26-28)
Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Christianity was born
In this place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Jesus humbled Himself to be baptized by John. And the sky — the sky above you right now — opened once more, and the Blessed Trinity was revealed:
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:15-17)
Here, Jesus’ public ministry began. Here, in these waters, Christianity was born.
Pilgrims renew their baptismal promises where Jesus was baptized by John.
The evidence of centuries of pilgrimages, brought to light by archaeological finds as recent as 1996, confirms it. From coins that may have been carried by those who came out to the desert to see John the Baptist, to the ruins of early prayer houses marked with baptismal crosses, from monks’cells cut into the banks to the remains of Byzantine churches that flourished even after the Islamic conquest, Bethany beyond the Jordan speaks eloquently of the presence of the Divine.
Bethany beyond the Jordan — in Arabic al-Maghtas, “the Place of Baptism” — is just the beginning of the many spiritual, historical, and cultural wonders offered by a Jordan pilgrimage. North Americans are often unaware of Jordan’s modernity, gracious hospitality, and deep dedication to preserving and sharing the land’s diverse yet common religious roots.
Writer Peter Jesserer Smith shared his experience of a 2016 #HolyJordan trip with the National Catholic Register. “Jordan is arguably the safest and most secure country in the Middle East,” he wrote. “The kingdom is at peace with all of its neighbors and has a unique Arab society. Wherever I went, I encountered a welcoming culture of hospitality, a warm fraternity of Christian-Muslim coexistence, and an abiding love of their ancient sites and heritage.”
Christianity flourished in Jordan from its beginnings, and still does today.
A visit to Bethany beyond the Jordan, as to all of Jordan’s holy sites, is not simply a visit to a bygone past. Christianity flourishes here today. When Pope Francis visited this place in February 2016, he was welcomed by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, whose flock includes Jordanians. His Beatitude Patriarch Fouad Twal extended a welcome to all, saying: “We invite the Christian world to visit this site and learn more about our roots and our ecclesial life. For many, this river is a border. For the Latin Patriarchate … it is more a bridge that unites, a call to communion and unity.”
Imagine yourself standing on the banks of the Jordan, on the ground where Jesus walked. You cup the water in your hand and cross yourself in the Name of the Trinity, renewing your own baptismal vows. Around you stand the Israelites, the disciples of John the Baptist, the first Christians and their pilgrim descendants — and the vibrant, living Church of today. The water, the stones, the ruins, the sky all speak to you of how your life changes in this moment, in this place.
To join Steve Ray on one of his two trips to Jordan in 2018, visit www.FootprintsOfGod.com.
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