Here is my third successive post about the baptism site at the Jordan.
Please click once, then once again, to see any photo much enlarged.
As we will see, there are many curious contrasts at Kasr al Yahud.
You get off your comfortable tour bus in the parking lot and maybe you will see an IDF army jeep there too.
It is a reminder that you that you are 1) in the West Bank, 2) just ten kilometers from Jericho which is in Area A where the Palestinian Authority has full control of security and civil administration, and 3) only a few meters across the river from Jordanian soldiers in watchtowers.
But no worries. Just a few steps and you are greeted by this mannequin in the gift shop.
He is modeling the garment in which you might like to be baptized or to immerse in the Jordan.
Plenty of T shirts for sale too, like with Holy Spirit doves, Israeli flags, and "I was baptized in the Jordan River."
This one is for "Woman's [sic]."
(Hey, this could be good for the Signs, Signs meme.)
I wonder how the translation fared in the other languages: Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Greek.
But the sign shows you the wide diversity of pilgrims who come to Kasr il Yahud.
Hey, are those shower heads on top?
If a Christian dies and is buried in this Jordan-dipped gown, now become shroud, it guarantees eternal life.
At least that is the Christian belief that our group's Israeli Jewish guide told about.
I have never heard this from a Christian source. Have you?
Follow the arrow to the "Water entry point."
The new structures you see are meant to provide shade and shelter for groups that come to have Mass or Divine Liturgy there.
Finally we get down to the river's edge.
At this point it is 380 meters below sea level.
Can you see the Jordanian flag flying just across the narrow river?
There are churches and monasteries on the other side too.
As we were leaving Kasr al Yahud, I saw three men unloading an ice cream truck in the sweltering heat.
Talk about contrasts! Ice cream in the desert!
Imagine how things could have turned out different if John the Baptist, Jesus, Joshua, and Elijah had come up from the Jordan and found such luxury . . . .