These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. – John 1:28
Today’s trip was billed as ‘Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where John Baptized Jesus Christ.’ It was everything it was advertised to be.
After breakfast we headed to the Baptismal site just east of the Jordan River. Near the entrance of the site we surveyed an ongoing archeological dig that is currently uncovering both a 1st and 6th Century AD settlement. The latter being Byzantine, including a monastery and pools for the baptism of pilgrims.
At these digs, located a few hundred yards from the Jordan River itself, we looked on a portion of the excavation that is thought to mark where Elijah ascended into Heaven (2 Kings 2). It was at this time we were reminded by our guide that this is also believed to be near the spot where Joshua led Israel across the River Jordan (Joshua 3-4).
From there we walked a stone path through a verdant glade of willows and trees which ended at a Greek Orthodox Church currently under construction. Look left and there was the river with Israel just a stone’s throw across … though we were not permitted to do so.
It is somewhere near this location that Jesus was Baptized by John as recorded in Matthew 3. As you may know, the Jordan River meanders a bit, so the exact location is unknown.
It was during this quiet walk in the woods that I was shooting snapshots and praying, ‘Lord, let me place my foot where your foot walked … let me touch what you touched.‘ This eventually evolved into a penetant and metaphoric ‘.. if I could just touch your garment, then I’d be healed of those things that afflict me.‘
After we dipped our toes in the Jordan, we enjoyed a simple but moving communion service amongst ourselves. It was when we broke the bread that I remembered He is already providing me a means of touching Him. I felt like singing a hymn, but then some noisy Russians came along so we quietly dismissed to the bus.
We returned to Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa where after lunch we again floated about the Dead Sea. Chuck has a hilarious picture of me floating on my belly with several stones stacked on my back.
Just before our farewell dinner, most of the gentlemen enjoyed the hot tubs, steam rooms and sauna, where most of the ladies gave in to an afternoon of relaxation, and spa treatments.
I am going to miss the Bible history that abounds in Jordan but I’m also anxious to be in the arms of my wife and have my 4 year old daughter. That said, I am so incredibly grateful to the Jordan Tourism Board for this once in a lifetime opportunity . It is my prayer that this blog will encourage readers to visit this amazing country and enjoy the gracious hospitality of the Jordanian people.