Day 18: Trip to Madaba, Mount Nebo, Dead Sea and Bethany-Beyond-Jordan (4)
Bethany Travel Blog› entry 34 of 54 › view all entries
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.
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...