Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Baptismal Sites on the Jordan River

As noted on Monday, so much water is being taken from the sources of the Jordan River that it may run dry as early as next year. Among other things, this would affect the new tourist facility that Israel has built along the Jordan River near Jericho.  Ferrell Jenkins visited the area yesterday and has a photo of the new baptismal site.

This area has been restricted to tourists because it lies on the sensitive border of Israel and Jordan. 

Historically it has been a popular place, especially for Russian pilgrims, because of the tradition that Jesus was baptized in this area by John (Mark 1:9; cf. John 1:28).

Russian Epiphany ceremony at Jordan River, mat06399 Russian pilgrims at Jordan River (source)

With visits to the southern area all but impossible, an enterprising kibbutz built the baptismal facility known as Yardenit near the Sea of Galilee. 

Yardenit baptismal area on Jordan River, tb040300 Yardenit Baptismal Site

One of the attractions of this site is the description of Jesus’ baptism in various languages.  English readers may be able to make some sense of the inscription in Hawaii Pidgin.  (You can purchase the entire New Testament in this language at Amazon.)

Jesus baptism text in Mark 1 at Yardenit, tb033107266dxo
Mark 1:9-11 in Hawaii Pidgin at Yardenit

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  • When we were there (on the Israeli side) in March the river was slightly higher. In fact, we were told that only the week before the water level was at flood stage and way above the stairs!

    I read years ago that in June 2007, the World Monuments Fund designated the Jordan River an Endangered Cultural Heritage Site. (See

    By Blogger Wayne Stiles, at Wed May 05, 06:49:00 AM  

  • I was on the Jordanian side on April 20, 2010. The Israeli side seemed deserted.


    Jim Lancaster

    By Blogger Jim Lancaster, at Fri May 14, 05:32:00 PM  

  • The Yardenit Baptismal Site is Israel on both sides. The Jordan does not become the border until a little further south.

    By Blogger Mark V, at Fri Apr 20, 03:39:00 AM  

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