Bethany beyond the Jordan

Bethany Travel Blog

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Jordan River

This morning began our incredible taxi ride adventure that I will now write about.  Our hotel in Dana arranged a taxi to pick us up and basically take us anywhere we wanted to go for the whole day.  For one fee, he would drive us, wait for us, and so on.  Well, he showed up on time, was very nice, helped us load are bags into the car, and we headed north.  It didn't occur to us at the time that the driver did not speak any words of english during that time...it was only as we reached the Dead Sea area that we realized we had no way of communicating with this driver.  Only a minor difficulty, right?  :)

The views along the Dead Sea were beautiful.

Touching the Jordan River
  Lots of salt in places.  For those who may not know, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.  All the salty rivers drain into the sea, and when the water evaporates, it leaves the salt behind.  So, the Dead Sea gets saltier each day.  Still, the water is crystal clear.  After all, there aren't many things (if anything) that can live in that climate.  As we got closer to Bethany, the site of Jesus's baptism, we had to come up with some way of communicating with the driver.  I looked up the site in my Lonely Planet guide book and eureka!  The Arab pronunciation was in there.  So, with a bad accent, I told him where we wanted to go.  He at least acted like he knew the place, and we started to see signs in english and arabic for the Baptism site.
Jesus's baptism site
  We were all set!

Or so we thought...after pointing to a sign, the driver only looked confused.  We realized shortly thereafter that not only did he not know a word of english, but he couldn't read - english or arabic.  It was also about this time that we realized he had no idea where he was going, and as the day progressed we realized he didn't know the area either.  What a setup by our hotel in Dana...he was a nice guy, but it's hard not to get frustrated at times like that!  Fortunately, there were signs in english and we were able to point our way to the Baptism site.

We paid a small fee for a guided tour of the area.  We were able to visit the Jordan River itself, the murky and muddy border between Jordan and Israel.  We were then taken to a site where three churches have stood over time, and we were also able to see a Greek Orthodox church that stands near the actual baptism site.

Greek Orthodox Church
  Finally, we were taken to the site where Jesus was baptized.  The river in this area had dried up some time in the last 2000 years, but it was obvious there was once water there.  Because of this, we were also able to see the steps leading down to the water that Jesus presumably used when he was baptized by John.

The tour ended with a view of the place where the prophet Elijah ascended into heaven.  We headed back to the entrance of the site, knowing who was waiting for us...our smiling taxi driver.  We tried our best to tell him that we wanted to go swimming in the Dead Sea, but we ended up just pointing back south.  He at least got the hint and started driving in the right direction.

halilee says:
Would you say it's worthwhile visiting Bethany?
Posted on: Aug 02, 2012
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Jordan River
Jordan River
Touching the Jordan River
Touching the Jordan River
Jesuss baptism site
Jesus's baptism site
Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church
Site where Elijah ascended into he…
Site where Elijah ascended into h…
Bethany
photo by: Nzelvis