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Jordan - The Land of the Baptism

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‘I baptize with water,’ John replied, ‘but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’ This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

--The Gospel of John 1:26-28


Bethany Beyond The Jordan


The voice crying in the wilderness. The desert, the wind, the reeds, the river, the springs.

Flocks from all over the region come for baptism. The One comes.

John baptizes. The heavens open.

The Holy Spirit descends upon the beloved Son.

The Father speaks.

The Divine Relationship is revealed.

The mission begins.

Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, the Wilderness of John east of the River Jordan where Jesus was baptized, is like no other place on earth. According to Scripture, the heavens opened twice here – first as Elijah was taken up to heaven on a chariot of fire, and second at the baptism of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon him, and His Heavenly Father proclaimed His beloved Son. This is the same wilderness area of “The Crossing,” where Joshua and his people crossed the Jordan after their long Exodus journey, so it is no coincidence that Jesus came to this very place before crossing from east to west to begin his public ministry.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan welcomes pilgrims from around the world. Located just north of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, visitors can walk the pilgrim trails of this protected park, just as the first pilgrims did during the early days of Christianity. Here, the remains of early churches that were built to commemorate the very place of baptism are easily accessible. In addition, new churches and guest houses of varied traditions offer places of worship and rest for individuals and groups alike. For an online tour of the many archaeological sites within the park – offered by the very guide who has led popes, priests, world leaders and other dignitaries – please click here.

As the birthplace of Christianity, Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan is of profound importance to believers. However, it is just one of the many Old and New Testament locations in Jordan easily accessible to pilgrims who make the journey.

Christian Bloggers Journey To Jordan

One Pilgrim. One Journey.

Follow Your Bible Map To Jordan

Close-up of the famed sixth century “Madaba Map,” the oldest surviving mosaic map of the Holy Land. Visitors to Jordan can see this world heritage map on the floor of the Orthodox Church of St. George in Madaba – the City of Mosaics. Madaba was part of the biblical land of Moab, just off the storied King’s Highway. Today, Madaba is within easy driving distance of many biblical locations, including Mount Nebo; the Dead Sea; Lot’s Cave; Amman; and the Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan Baptism Site.

Tel Mar Elias
Mount Nebo
Dead Sea
Umm Qais
Bethany Beyond the Jordan

The Bible Trail

Discover more about the roots of your faith in Jordan by clicking on the holy sites along our Bible Trail interactive map.


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Old Testament Sites
New Testament Sites
The Jordan Trail

Follow the Prophets. Follow Jesus.
Follow the original Pilgrims.

In Old Testament times, the land east of the Jordan River included the Ammonite, Moabite and Edomite kingdoms. In the New Testament, the region included most of the cities of the Decapolis. The Greeks called it Perea, which meant the “territory beyond.” This is where Jesus taught multitudes, performed miracles and cast out demons, as he traveled back and forth between east and west, proclaiming his message.

Welcome to Jordan

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Jordan’s depth of biblical history, combined with the unspoiled nature of the holy sites and the variety of experiences available throughout the kingdom, are just a few reasons to organize a pilgrimage for your community.


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News & Views from Christian Media
About Holy Jordan

Seven Wonders of the Biblical World  National Catholic Register
Encountering the Lord’s Mercy  National Catholic Register
A Place of History, Mystery and Pilgrimage Catholic Digest
Journeying to Holy Jordan The Presbyterian Outlook

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My experience in Jordan was wonderful. From the food to the accommodations to the holy sites and ancient ruins we visited, my visit wastruly extraordinary. I walked in places I had only read about in the Bible. I stood in the Jordan River. I marveled at the ancient architecture of Petra. I shall not soon forget the warmth and welcome of the Jordanian people or the magnificent beauty of the night sky above Wadi Rum.” 

- Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, American Baptist Home Mission Societies, October 2017

A highlight of my visit to Jordan was when I stood above an archaeological site at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan and realized I was staring down at a very large cruciform baptismal font. As I gazed at the massive flight of steps leading down to the font, I imagined what it must have felt like to walk down those steps, clothed in white, trained in the catechism, and ready to be immersed in the water (which flowed directly into the pool from the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized).

The shape of the font helped me remember that when we are baptized we enter death with Christ before we emerge from the waters, raised to new life. Seeing this ancient font so close to the site of Jesus’ baptism and recalling my own baptism helped me remember how very vast is the cloud of witnesses that makes up the Christian faith, past and present.” 

- Elizabeth Palmer, The Christian Century Magazine, October 2017

The beauty of this country is breathtaking. Watching the sun melt into the vast, orange, sandstone mountains of the Wadi Rum desert, lying in the sand stargazing under the clearest night sky I have ever seen, standing on the shores of the crystal blue waters of the Red Sea, reflecting at the grand overlook of the Galilee Sea from the cliffs of Gadara…. these experiences deeply moved me.”

- Pam VanArsdall, Writer for A Million God Stories, October 2017

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Are you ready to take the first step
on your #HolyJordan Journey? Jordan may be an open-air Sunday School, but there is plenty more for you to enjoy as you make your way along the Bible Trail. Discover more about the experiences awaiting you in Jordan – the eastern part of the Holy Land.

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