Thursday, April 10, 2014

Qasr el Yahud and Bethany Beyond the Jordan

Just a few miles north of the Dead Sea
 and within sight of Jericho is a site called Qasr el Yahud-
on the Palestinian side. 
This area is thought to be a closer spot
 for the baptism of Jesus.
Mark 1:9-12

Also associated with where Elijah
 parted the waters of the Jordan River
 and walked across with Elisha
 just before entering heaven in a chariot of fire.
 2 Kings 2:7-15
Where John the Baptist prepares the way
 and spends his early days in ministry-
 John 1:19-28 and 10:40-42.

The other side of the Jordan River is called 
Bethany Beyond the Jordan,
and it is a bit more "beyond"
 as that is Jordanian territory.

The Jordan side of the Jordan River is one of the
 most important recent discoveries
 in Biblical archaeology.
 Excavations only began here in 1996,
 following Jordan's peace treaty with Israel in 1994. 
They have already uncovered more than 20 churches,
 caves and baptismal pools dating
 from the Roman and Byzantine periods. 
The area known as Wadi Kharrar
 has long been believed to be the
 biblical Bethany beyond the Jordan.

The signs remind you as you enter and leave this spot 
that this is a military zone.
You do not get in the water without permission.
You do not cross the river.
And armed folks along the balcony area
 are able reminders of all of this.
And so are the barbed wire and razor fence lines
 and the signs for the active mine fields.

A modern time reminder that the Holy Land
 has ALWAYS been a land of unrest.
But, we live and hope in the ONE-
 who brings true peace- Jesus.

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