Day 18: Trip to Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea and Bethany-Beyond-Jordan (4)

Bethany Travel Blog

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the jordan river

We ended the day at Bethany-Beyond-Jordan, the site where according to legend Jezus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist.

Once again quite a bit of guessing was needed to find the exact spot based on the descriptions in the bible (East bank of the river Jordan, not far from Jericho). The Byzantines had placed a couple of churches at this spot, which prompted pope John Paul II to declare this place sacred as well, when he did his tour de Jordan.

So since JPII's visit this is the true place of Jesus' baptism, and if you wish you can even get baptised yourself here. However, you do need to bring your own priest of your denomination of choice.

There is not much to see at the actual site of John the Baptist.

the closest we'd get to Israel
Which isn't really strange, considering the turmoil in this area these past 2000 years. But what is quite special about this place is that this is the only place where you can actually see (and touch) the river Jordan, and across the river, 20 metres ahead, lies occupied Palestine. The entire river is a military zone, but at this spot an exception has been made for tourists and pilgrims.

Quite cool, to see the Israeli flag flutter so close, but completely off limits for us because we fly back from a country that refuses entry to anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport. Or even without the stamp, if there is the slightest suspicion you have been to Israel, you'll get refused. We had briefly contemplated going to Jerusalem on a day trip from Amman, using a border crossing where your passport is stamped on a separate page, but in the end we just didn't dare to risk it.

So this would be the closest we'd come to Israel and the Palestine. I think looking is tolerated... only just...

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the jordan river
the jordan river
the closest wed get to Israel
the closest we'd get to Israel
The mighty Jordan river, not as im…
The mighty Jordan river, not as i…
proof that this is a holy place
'proof' that this is a holy place
dipping in the holy water of the J…
dipping in the holy water of the …
surroundings of Bethany
surroundings of Bethany
you never know, it might make the …
you never know, it might make the…
photo by: Nzelvis