Baptismal Site at Bethabara in Israel is now open

We mentioned in a previous post that the Baptismal Site at Bethabara in Israel was to open today. We were able to view the new site from across the River Jordan.

Hundreds of people came to see the site and baptisms took place on both sides of the narrow river. The two sites are so close together that one could almost shake hands with the people on the other side.

An impressive Ethiopian ceremony took place on the southern side:

An Ethiopian bishop blesses the waters of the Jordan with a golden cross, while other priests filled plastic bottles with water.
The people on the right baptise themselves on the Jordanian side, while the people on the left do the same on the Israeli side.

It was interesting to see that baptism knows (almost) no boundaries!

16 thoughts on “Baptismal Site at Bethabara in Israel is now open”

  1. A professor of mine used to refer ironically to the “Mighty River Jordan.” I suppose it depends on season…

    Are you in Israel now?

  2. Nachum,

    It depended indeed on the season. In spring time when the snow of Mount Hermon melts there was so much water in the Jordan that it overflowed its banks. The dam near Degania prevents this from happening since it was built, as most of the water is siphoned off into the national water carrier.
    In our CD 3 <>, we have a picture taken in 1894 showing the “Mighty Jordan” overflowing its banks, as it did in the time of Joshua, see ch. 3.15.

  3. I seem to remember reading an article recently that states that the water in the Jordan at this point is filled with sewage to the point of being dangerous.

    “Friends of the Earth charges that Israel has used the Jordan River as a dumping ground for sewage and other pollutants. Bromberg said his organization commissioned a water survey last week and found 340 fecal coliforms per 100 millilitres of water, indicating the presence of sewage in the water.”

  4. Where is this situated please? Is it near Jericho or a little South of Galilee? Where was Jesus baptised at the north or south locations proposed please. It would be neat if it was where Joshua crossed over.



  5. The place is opposite Jericho. Bethabara means “Place of Crossing”. Jesus was baptized here at the same spot where the Israelites under Joshua entered the promised Land (Joshua 3).

  6. Thanks Leen, I thought you had mentioned it on the weekend but wasn’t sure if I heard right.

    Our love to you and Kathleen and Daniel

  7. Great news. Visiting Jerusalem in Jan 2012 and wondering what is the best way to get Bethabara

  8. John,
    Coming down from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea on Route 1, turn left into Route 90 and after a few miles north, a road leads off to the right signposted “Baptismal Site”. The place used to be called Qasr el-Yehud. Enjoy your visit!

  9. I had the blessed opportunity to visit Israel back in 1997 and again in 1998. The group I traveled with went to the Yardenit site near Galilee. This site has been used for many years, but doesn’t line up location wise with the scriptures, but I did “Jump in” the waters and got my little certificate, plus I received and added bonus….Ring worm. At Yardenit right across from where you go in the water there is a little farm with horses, and the water looks just like chocolate milk, this was in February and March. All in all I don’t really know if the Ring worm on my hand came from the water or not, but one things for certain…I wouldn’t want that water getting in my mouth. The Jordan river looks pretty clear up near Dan or Caesarea Phillippi, and I have no regrets about the awesome visit….Israel is a wonderful and exciting place that really brings the Bible to life in your minds eye. The thing that I found to be amazing was in March of 1998 we woke up to snow in Jerusalem, it was pretty wild seeing palm trees weighted down with heavy wet snow, and they don’t have snow plows like we do here in Wisconsin so it slowed the pace of a very busy city at least for one morning anyway.

  10. I was just reading John 1 and wanted to see what Bethabara looked like. I enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures on this site. Brother Adam John, your story is wonderful. I looked up pictures of Damascus and found snow covered palm trees. What a wild sight to behold! Thank you for this site, Ritmeyer!

  11. I think visiting Israel would be fun, I find there is Spanish language mixed with English when thinking about writing, I don’t know what to say, other than I’ve been raised in church and I’ve gone through many spiritual experiences,I would like to move there to Israel but I have to wait I need to learn the Hebrew language and finish with school as a nurse.

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