The Baptismal sites: Yardenit & Qasr el Yehud
Fed in the north by melting snows from Mount Hermon and finishing its journey in the Dead Sea, the River Jordan takes over 200 miles to flow a distance that is only 65 miles as the crow flies.
Despite its modest length the Jordan is one of the best known rivers in the world. All four Gospels mark Jesus’ baptism by his cousin, John the Baptist, who had been preaching repentance and preparing the way, saying, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”, Luke 3:16.
The event took place in the Jordan River, and for generations baptism in its waters has been a central part of the pilgrim’s journey to the Holy Land. But different Christian traditions developed through the ages pointing to two spots on the western bank of the river as being where Jesus’ baptism occurred.
The older tradition is maintained by the Orthodox Church at Qasr el Yehud, the Castle of the Jews, named in memory of the day Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
Throughout the centuries huge crowds have gathered here to mark the Epiphany – the day that commemorates the baptism of Jesus.
A. Pilgrims come from all over the world to take part in a ceremony that is as old as Christianity itself.
B. The Yardenit is situated where the Jordan River leaves the Sea of Galilee.
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