Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus
Places of Interest
Jordan River Baptismal Site of Jesus
There are two main baptismal sites on the Jordan River.
Qasr al-Yahud Baptismal Site
1. It’s located about 2 miles (3.2 km.) east of Hwy. 90, across from Jericho.
2. It’s also known as Qaser al-Yahud, Kasser al-Yahud, and the Baptismal Site of Jesus.
3. It’s the place where it’s believed Jesus was baptized, and where John the Baptist and the disciples of Jesus baptized many people as well.
4. The water is not quite as clean as Yardenit, but thousands of pilgrims are baptized there each year because of its spiritual significance.
5. It’s also the believed location where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land.
6. For those desiring to get baptized here in the Jordan River, the Qsar al-Yahud gift shop provides white robes and towels for a small fee.
7. Qsar al-Yahud also has a gift shop for purchase of souvenirs and other miscellaneous items.
Yardenit Baptismal Site
1. Yardenit is just a couple hundred yards (meters) west of Hwy. 90, at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.
2. It’s a popular spot, and the water is clean and abundant.
3. For those desiring to get baptized here in the Jordan River, the Yardenit gift shop provides white robes and towels for a small fee.
4. Yardenit has a large gift shop for purchase of souvenirs and other miscellaneous items as well.
5. For more, please see the Yardenit Baptismal Site.
1. The concept of baptism is rooted in the Old Testament. As far back as Genesis, eight people were saved from the great flood of God’s judgment. The Apostle Peter indicated that the water of the flood “symbolizes baptism that now saves you” (1 Pet. 3:21).
2. Old Testament prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, and King David likewise used water as an external symbol for internal cleansing (Isa. 1:16: Ezek. 36:25; Ps. 51:2).
Isaiah 1:16: Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil.
3. The word baptize, baptized, baptizing, or baptismal is mentioned around 72 times in the New Testament and, therefore, shows the value God places upon it.
Places of Interest
1. Qasr al-Yahud Baptismal Site
2. Hwy. 90
3. Jew’s Palace (Castle of the Jews)
4. Jordanian Baptismal Site of Jesus
5. St. John the Baptist Romanian Church: On the Jordanian Site of the river.
6. The believed location where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land.
7. This area is also associated with the ascension of the Prophet Elijah into heaven, which is commemorated at a hill called Tell Mar Elias or Jabal Mar-Elias (Elijah’s Hill).
Baptism in the Bible
1. Baptism in the Old Testament.
Baptism in the Old Testament had a different name and purpose than believer’s baptism in the New Testament.
It served as a purification ritual that happened regularly.
Before entering the temple, synagogue, or entering any religious building, the Jews would purify themselves (ritual cleansing) in Mikvahs (purification pools).
They also purified themselves before the Sabbath, feast days, and so forth. Purification for a Jew was a regular part of life.
Purification involved confession of sin, entering a pool of water, immersing oneself completely, and putting on a new change of clothes. Mikvahs were found everywhere and some of the wealthier population had their own private mikvahs.
2. The Baptism of John the Baptist.
John’s baptism picked up on this Jewish concept and took it a step further. His baptism was primarily a baptism of repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah.
Matthew 3:1–6: In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” 4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
3. Jesus was baptized by John.
Matthew 3:13–17: Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
4. Why did Jesus get baptized if He was God in the flesh and perfect? After all, the purpose for Baptism in Jesus’ day was a baptism of repentance.
Jesus permitted John the Baptist to baptize Him in order to fulfill all righteousness.
He was setting an example for all to follow.
Jesus didn’t repent of anything because He was perfect.
It also gave God an opportunity to speak audibly and show His pleasure and affirmation of Christ as the Son of God.
5. The Baptism of Jesus.
The message and baptism of Jesus was that of repentance from sin and acceptance of Himself as the Messiah.
Matthew 4:17: From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John 4:1–3: Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.
6. Baptism in the rest of the New Testament.
Baptism always followed salvation and was an outward proclamation of an inner conversion.
On the day of Pentecost 3,000 people were saved and were baptized. They would have used the existing Jewish mikvahs as baptismal pools.
Acts 2:41: So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Baptism was an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior.
Romans 6:1–3: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
In the same way Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to new life, baptism follows this same pattern. The believer’s placement under the water symbolizes burial and death to sin, and rising up out of the water symbolizes new life in Christ.
Baptism does not save us in and of itself; it follows salvation and expresses what has already taken place in the heart of a believer.
Baptism is a declaration to others that we are identifying ourselves with Christ and are now one of His disciples.
Baptism is commanded in many passages of the Bible and unless we are unable to do so for some unique reason, we should get baptized.
Matthew 28:18–20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Acts 2:37–38: Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Faith Lesson from Baptism
1. Jesus didn’t need to be baptized but did so in order to be an example for us.
2. If we are genuine believers in Christ and have not been baptized, we should do so in order to obey Christ.
3. Baptism does not save us in and of itself, but when connected with our faith in Christ, it cleanses us of sin, identifies us with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and declares to others that we are followers of Christ.
4. Baptism symbolizes our newness of life in Christ and that we are now dead to being controlled and defeated by sin.
Romans 6:4: We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.