The Desert of Bethany Beyond Jordan
Long, long ago in Jordan, at this spot, John the Baptist lived here and this is the place he baptized Jesus. Centuries later, Theodosius is the first to mention a church that was here at the Jordan River. A second church was built at the end of the 5th century by the Emperor Anastasius (491-518) to commemorate St John the Baptist and the famous baptism on this spot. The area is known as Bethany-Beyond-Jordan. today Wajeeh and I were exploring the site. Now, it looks like and archeological dig and a church.
The Sites at Bethany-Beyond-Jordan
The Jordan Tourism Authority developed a relatively modern Orthodox church dedicated to St. John the Baptist on the site. Consequently, the Jordanian government is sensitive to the number of visitors which is controlled by the visitors center. On the day we went there weren’t many tourists. As a result, of the strict controls always plan ahead if you are going to the site.
St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church
We walk and explore and from a distance, Wajeeh and I saw the church glowing in the sun.
To my surprise, The Orthodox Church in Jordan is bigger than I imagined. I hadn’t thought that Jordan has Christians. But, it has a rather large community.
The Church at Bethany-Beyond-Jordan
The church seems bigger than it is as you walk up to it. It’s small, and when Wajeeh and I went, we took our time and looked at all of the Christian icons and artifacts – including bones. Wajeeh and I both feel a calming spirit as we explore. Cool inside and the smell of incense filled the church. My time with Wajeeh is always an excellent experience. Walking with Wajeeh, barely speaking a word most of the day – gave me a great sense of comfort and reflection. He makes me feel comfortable, happy and safe, because of this he is a trusted friend. Hopefully, we will never lose touch.
Greek Orthodox Church
St John the Baptist Church Jordan River – is small inside but the art is in excellent condition. Noteworthy, are the tulips on the door and carved on the wooden screens which are a design influence from ancient Rome. Therefore, although the church is small the historically and art history is significant. More remarkable, there isn’t security guarding the site.
Bethany-Beyond-Jordan – Bones
We inspect the bones. I had ask, who’s bones are these? The bones weren’t St John the Baptist but are the bones of one of the priests of the church. By the way, keeping relics is a custom of Orthodox Christians.
By the time we left and after watching the sunset, we had to laugh because we forgot to eat. It was food time! We hadn’t seen food stands or restaurants because we weren’t looking, or maybe there weren’t any.
Next, a stop at the local falafel joint. Falafel joints are like American fast food joints like MacDonalds or Burger King. On to cheap eats!
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