Bethany Beyond the Jordan, Kingdom of Jordan: The Site of the Baptism of Jesus
About Bethany Beyond the Jordan:
This location (not to be confused with Bethany where Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived) is the area where John the Baptist carried out his ministry and where he baptized Jesus. It is about 10 miles north of the Dead Sea and not far from Mount Nebo, in the Kingdom of Jordan.
There was some debate as to whether Jesus entered from the east or west side of the river, and that will probably never be resolved, since the Biblical records do not give us those details.
What is known, however, is that this location on the East side of the Jordan River was a popular Christian pilgrimage site very early on. The remains of several churches have been unearthed on this spot. And, after further investigation, this site has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
That is why we feel that this is the actual location where Jesus was baptized.
Nevertheless, you can still visit the opposite bank, as many groups do. Perhaps it is just more convenient, since you do not have to cross over to Jordan, although all you need to do is show your passport to enter Jordan from Israel. Often groups choose to renew their baptismal vows here, and it is a staple of most pilgrimages to the Holy Land to stop at the Jordan to renew their baptismal vows. You do not get re-baptized, since one baptism is sufficient.
You may want to take some water from the Jordan back home with you. Although you can fill empty containers with water (bottles are for sale that say “Water from the Jordan”) it is not safe to drink. Please note these bottles are not always of the best quality (as is also the case in many shrines around the world) so we strongly suggest you transfer the water to a regular bottled-water bottle before returning home. And, of course, they will have to go in your checked luggage. These regulations are ever-changing so be sure to find out the latest from the airline or tour operator!
The official website of Bethany beyond the Jordan contains a lot of useful information: history, video tours and visitor information. Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI visited here and Pope Francis visited here on his Holy Land pilgrimage in May 2014.
Traveling to Bethany Beyond the Jordan:
Tel: +962 777 607036 or +962 5 3590360
Click here for the official website of Bethany beyond the Jordan.
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Photo credits: Youssef Hilo, licensed tour guide & interpreter.