While traveling to the Dead Sea in Jordan, I had taken a short side trip to the Eshria’a” or the Baptism Site of Jesus, which sits along the River Jordan. Although I do not follow any religion, I decided to come here to honor my early years of Christian/ Catholic up bringing. Visiting the Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ is a personal pilgrimage, as it may not be high on everyone’s list, and it should be treated as that.
According to the Christian tradition, this site is where John the Baptist performed the baptismal ritual on Jesus Christ. This biblical site along the River Jordan is within a humble wood shelter and considered the third holiest site in the Christian religion. The first two are the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which is considered the birthplace of Jesus’s spiritual strength.
Jesus’s Baptismal site is one of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jordan. It was designated in 2015, which makes it the newest site honored in Jordan. It was noted as “a tremendous contributor to the cultural and religious heritage associated with the baptism of Jesus Christ, an event which is of high significance to the Christian tradition.” – UNESCO website.
The baptismal site sits across Israel and is divided by the River Jordan, which is not very wide. My friend and I decided to have a seat along the shore and dip our feet in the river, with a view of Israel across the way. Interestingly enough, the Israeli-occupied West Bank has laid claims to the baptismal site, as well of millions of dollars that were lost due to tourism. From across the way, we could see the blue and white Israeli flag very clearly, as there is some rivalry on Jordan’s claim.
The UNESCO World Heritage organization declared the Baptismal Site location (Bethany Beyond the Jordan) in present day Jordan. Additionally both the Orthodox Christian Church, as well as the Vatican have given blessings to this Jordan location. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict visited the Baptismal Site and preformed blessings during their visits to the Middle East. Being a former Catholic, I understand how significant both Popes visits would be to the Catholics and why there is a strong pilgrimage for those in the Christian faith.
Travel Information – There are organized tour groups that will bring you to the Baptismal Site and depending on why you come to Jordan, your experience will be different. There are religious pilgrimage tours that you can research, with the Baptismal Site included.
As for myself, I was traveling through G Adventures and the Baptismal Site was a side trip for those who wanted to go. We were spending the day at the Dead Sea and half of our group decided to visit the site, while the others stayed at the resort.
The greatest adventure is what lies ahead…– JRR Tolkein
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