Sunday, January 7, 2018

At Kasr al-Yahud River Jordan baptism site

For the Latin church (the Roman Catholics) today is the feast day called the Baptism of the Lord.
Hundreds walk in procession down to the Kasr al Yahud baptism site on this day.
I was there on a much quieter day, just a few weeks ago.

Our bus passed the minus 300 meters sign and continued to descend even lower to the Jordan Valley, a bit north of the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth).

Flags greeted us at the entrance.
The Israeli flag and that of Nature & National Parks Protection Agency, and also of the Judea and Samaria Civil Administration (because it is in the West Bank, east of Jericho).

You had better pay attention to the rules.
Don't even THINK of wading across the river.

The other side is already the Kingdom of Jordan.
The border runs down the middle of the River Jordan and that is why the sign says, Do not pass, in Hebrew, English, and Russian. 

A new Greek Orthodox church has been built on the other side and we could see the Jordanian flag waving in the breeze of late afternoon.

Many Christians step into the water for a renewal of their baptism.
Some new Christians get the total immersion with the help of their priest or pastor.

The river is very shallow now after 4-5 years of drought.
In the rainy stormy weekend we just had, the level of the Jordan rose by 35 centimeters.
It's not likely you will need this red lifesaver, but it hangs on the tree just in case.
(This blog has five posts about Kasr al Yahud baptism site, if you'd like to see more.)
UPDATE Jan. 10: The Franciscans today published their short video of Sunday's pilgrimage to the baptism site:
(Linking to signs, signs,  inSPIRED Sunday and  Our World Tuesday.)


Kay said...

I'm always so amazed at all areas of religious significance there is in your area. I do remember being in Jordan and looking across the Dead Sea in your direction and wondering what you were doing.

Sandi said...

"Please respect ceremonies and worshippers."

This line from the sign took my breath away. I don't know that I have ever seen an admonition like that on a government sign anywhere else.

William Kendall said...

Not being particularly religious, I tend to see places like this feeling like an outsider.

Hels said...

The Greek Orthodox church built on the other side of the river looks to have amazing architecture, and landscape. But if I had to guess the building's location, date and architect just by looking at the photo, I would be hard pushed to get it right.

Pietro Brosio said...

Such an interesting post, Dina.
Thanks for your nice comment on my blog.
I wish you a Happy 2018!

Alice said...

A quiet and peaceful looking site Dina

yani said...

Thank you for your wishes, Dina! you also have beautiful photos!

Sara Lorayne said...

That's quite a list of rules! I feel honored to have been baptized in the Jordan River twice in my life - both a VERY long time ago and not at any prepared baptism site. I couldn't say exactly where either location was, but the river was full and deep both times. Nowhere near the Jordanian border, I'm sure.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Wading into water that is not potable and nearby landmines may not be my cup of tea. Still I respect those that must.

Angie said...

I have no plans to travel to your part of the world, and yet these sacred historic places are meaningful to me. So thank you for sharing them with us through the wonders of the Web.

Tom said... ancient and sacred sight!

Bill Nicholls said...

Looks a bit like it is a bit commercialize to me even though there are not many people around

Lesley said...

That is a nice, respectful sign of rules, I think.