The baptism site

The baptism site of Jesus Christ, Bethany (not to be confused with the Jerusalem village Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead) lies on the River Jordan, just 15 minutes north of the Dead Sea. This site holds great significance for Christians and thousands of them gather every year in January for the feast of Epiphany.

As the bible states, Jesus was baptised in the village of Bethany where John the Baptist lived and preached (Matthew 3: 13-17). Jesus spent forty days in the east of the Jordan River (Mark 1: 13, Matthew 4: 1-11) and after his baptism, he fasted and refused the temptations of Satan.

It is also the site where the Jordan River was parted after the death of Moses, so that Joshua could lead his tribes across to Canaan (Joshua 3: 14-17); and again two hundred years later as the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven “on a chariot of fire and horses of fire” (2 Kings 2: 5-14).

The site’s significance is not restricted to religious reasons, however. Scholars consider the baptism of Jesus one of the only historically certain facts mentioned in the bible, along with his crucifixion. Archaeologists have also uncovered hordes of historical artefacts and sites from the Byzantine and Roman periods including: churches; baptismal pools; mosaics; evidence of monks and hermit dwellings; and medieval accounts of pilgrims. These sites can be explored in the Baptism Archaeological Park.