Visit Bethany, place of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River

As soon as you inform yourself before traveling to Jordan , you will realize that during much of it you will be treading on biblical lands .

You already know that the great historical place of religious reference is Jerusalem , and I tell you that you can see the reflection of the city lights if you drive at night along the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea .

But there are many other places, already in Jordan , where various biblical events took place, both the Old and New Testaments, such as the Lot Shrine , next to the Dead Sea , or Mount Aaron , near Petra .

Baptisms in the Jordan River in Bethany in Jordan
Baptisms in the Jordan River in Bethany in Jordan


Undoubtedly, one of the enclaves that you can visit where you will most feel mysticism emerge is in Bethany of Transjordania , very close to Jericho .

As identified by medieval Byzantine texts, it is the place where Jesus received Baptism from John the Baptist .

This enclave is located in the border area between Jordan and Palestine, which is bounded by the course of the Jordan River .

What to see in Betania

In your visit to Bethany on the side of Jordan you will find two very different corners.

On the one hand, the archaeological excavations that have been carried out since 1996, after which it has brought to light the exact point where it is thought that Jesus received Baptism .

Bethany in Jordan
Bethany in Jordan


And on the other, a curious place on the Israeli side, on the banks of the Jordan River , where every day groups of Jews carry out the ceremony of baptism in the waters of the Jordan River .

These baptisms are carried out by introducing the body three successive times in the waters of the river, in the image and likeness of what Jesus said .

But you have to know which course of the aforementioned  Jordan River at present has no resemblance to what it was like in the time of Jesus.

Bethany in Jordan
Bethany in Jordan

In addition to its different layout, the water flow is much lower, largely due to the upstream construction of a dam by the Israelites, one of the reasons why the Dead Sea is draining at high speed.

Therefore, now you do not find a wide river, but narrow channels through which the water runs in places of leafy canes.

Right on the channel that separates the current border between Palestine and Jordan , after the occupation of the territories of the West Bank in one of the wars of the past century, today, face to face, with a distance of no more than 10 meters, They find two platforms that allow access to the waters of the Jordan River .

Archaeological remains of the place of the Baptism of Jesus in Bethany
Archaeological remains of the place of the Baptism of Jesus in Bethany

When you arrive at the very simple wooden platform on the Jordanian side, you discover in front of it a complex of buildings that serves as a base for communities of Jewish citizens to emulate the Baptism of Jesus every day .

The Jordanian enclave was opened to visitors in the year 2000, and Pope John Paul II attended its inauguration as a sign of its recognition by the Vatican .

The truth is that in the visit we made on the Jordanian side, the baptisms made from the Israeli side became an attraction.

In particular, the most striking were the large groups of Orthodox Jews who, covered by a thin white cloak, were entering the Jordan River line.

Doris and Cristina after the baptism in the Jordan River in Bethany
Doris and Cristina after the baptism in the Jordan River in Bethany


That undoubtedly was an invitation for my friends Cristina and Doris, who, without much hesitation, decided to make their own baptism ceremony, introducing their heads three times in the aforementioned waters, quite dirty, by the way.

Our Jordanian escorts, and us, were really impressed.

In short, in Bethany you are not only going to visit an archaeological site , but you have the opportunity to reaffirm your religious feelings.

It is also customary to take as a souvenir a bottle of river water … which will force you to be ingenious when checking it with your suitcase to avoid being taken away at the airport.