Bethany Beyond Jordan



North of the Dead Sea lies Bethany, which means "house of the ford," and although much debated by theologians, according to Byzantine and medieval texts, and the King James Bible, was the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This was confirmed in 2000 CE by Pope John Paul II on his visit to the site. It is however a long hot walk down to the river Jordan, and he would hardly have said he had wasted his day!


The Jordan River has always had religious importance for Jews, Christians and Muslims, probably because it is their only year round river, most others drying up during the summer months. The Jordan too is much depleted since its years of grandeur, as much of its water is now diverted for irrigation.


The chapels built on the eastern side of the river during the Byzantine period 5-6th century CE, include three churches built over each other, and decorated with mosaics and marble flooring. A marble staircase links the churches with the "John the Baptist Spring." A marble pillar and cross marking the baptismal site, and the remains of a small chapel and arch mark the place where Jesus disrobed for the ritual.


Jordan Tour





Israeli Viewing Platform on the West Bank


Steps Down to the Baptismal Site