EAD SEA, JORDAN — So much happened here in the last two days of our trip, including a detour with a personal meaning. But this is a diary, and not “War and Peace,” so I must be brief: [Return to Menu]
is the Web address (no kidding!) for Bethany beyond the Jordan, as in the River, where, many Christians believe, Jesus was immersed by John the Baptist. It’s an ancient site, in a part of which there’s the ruins of a church built as a memorial to the event. More modern churches for various Orthodox Christian communities have either been built or are under construction there.
Bethany is smaller, in terms of the water area available, than Israel’s Yardenit site, which is where the Israelis want Christian pilgrims to come. There was no rush of buses and hordes of tourists when our group arrived, mid-afternoon on Friday. The atmosphere was peaceful, contemplative, although the trappings were certainly more eastern than we in the West might imagine. Baptismal “robes,” printed with an icon-like picture of the Lord’s immersion, are suggested for those being baptized at Bethany.
Not everyone wears such a robe, of course. In the picture, Russ Jones, editor/publisher of The Chronicle Christian Newspaper in Wichita, Kansas, is shown baptizing writer Marlo Kirkpatrick of Mississippi, another tour member. The scene was created to give the Jordanian Tourist Board some images to work with, but the emotion was certainly real!
Bethany is well worth seeing, however.
Onward to the Dead Sea, or more specifically, the Marriott resort there. This is a wonderful hotel with just the right accommodations for an end-of-trip round of relaxation. Apart from the Dead Sea itself, there’s nothing really biblical here, save for a place to rest and regroup, something God advises us to do from time to time.
On Sabbath, Nov. 10, I was privileged to be in Amman at our Seventh-day Adventist church there. If you are ever looking for a wonderful group of people, Jordanians and expatriates who live there, this is the place to go. It was my privilege to share a brief message with these delightful, committed Christians. Even more, it was my privilege to learn more about our church there — stories I hope to share soon in Adventist Review or Adventist World.
Finally, early the next morning, it was time to go home. The return was long, and bittersweet. I’d spent a little more than a week, meeting new people, making new friends and having wonderful experiences. Though the trip was only 9 days, the memories will last a lifetime. If you want to make your own memories, check out the Jordan tourism.