Israel Custom Tour: Jordan River Baptism Site

Baptism in Jordan River

Baptism in Jordan River

Holy Land Baptism

On your Israel custom tour, one of the must-see sites for  Christian and Jewish tourists is the newly opened site of Qasr El Yahud located on the Jordan River.

According to Christian tradition, this is the site where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.  After the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, this site is considered the third holiest site in the Christian world.

Jewish tradition holds that this is the site of two significant events in the Old Testament.  As noted in the book of Joshua 3:13, this is where the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered the Holy Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.  The Book of Kings II (2:18) attributes Qasr El-Yehud as the site of  Elijaha’s ascension to heaven in a fiery chariot after he and Elisha crossed the Jordan.

Entering Jordan River for Baptism

Entering Jordan River for Baptism

During a recent visit on our Israel custom tour to Qasr El-Yehud, we witnessed the baptism of Church Elders of the Armenian Church as they immersed their bodies and heads in the Jordan River. We watched the holy ceremony from the shores of the Jordan River in Israel – but the ceremony took place across the waters in Jordan – less than 200 meters away.

Franciscan Monk at Jordan River Baptism Site, Israel

Franciscan Monk at Jordan River Baptism Site, Israel

At the same time on the Israel side, Franciscan monks led  believers to the waters of the Jordan and poured the holy water onto outstretched hands.

As we stood at the edge of the Jordan River, an Israeli soldier kept a quiet watch on the people and activities, as did his Jordanian counterpart just a few meters away on the Jordanian side. Qasr El-Yahud, once a battle site and later, a site lined with mines it became a forbidden

Jordanian soldier at Baptism site, Jordan

Jordanian soldier at Baptism site, Jordan

zone to Israelis. Today, the site is peaceful with joint access to the holy waters of the Jordan River.

 

 

 

 

 

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Experience Jerusalem: Stations of the Cross


Station of the Cross, Old City, Jerusalem, Israel

Station of the Cross, Old City, Jerusalem, Israel

The 14 stations of the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, are each clearly marked in the Old City of Jerusalem. Wind your way through the open air market, along this ancient spiritual route.

Most probably developed by the Franciscans after they were granted administration of the Christian holy places in Jerusalem in 1342, the Via Dolorosa symbolizes a spiritual journey.

In the photo, see Station No. 3.

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St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Jaffa, Israel

Roman Catholic Church, Jaffa, Israel

Roman Catholic Church, Jaffa, Israel

St Peter's Franciscan Order Monastery, Jaffa, Israel

St Peter's Franciscan Order Monastery, Jaffa, Israel

I finally managed to enter St. Peter’s Church in Old Jaffa. The opening hours are very restricted and since I do not live in the area, somehow I was never there on time. Until one day… an early morning appointment in Tel Aviv on a sunny winter day had me walking through the square. Luck was shining down upon me: the Church was open and welcoming.

Photos of the interior of the church are forbidden, but here are some exterior shots to whet the appetite. An isle of tranquility, the silent visitors could hear strains of classical music wafting across the high beamed church space.

Next door to the entrance to the Church is a closed door leading to St. Peter’s Monastery.

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