Ermak Travel Guide

 

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Bethabara

 

 

 

This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1:28)

 

 

 

Description of Bethabara Archaeological Site

Bethabara (Greek Βηθαβαρᾶ́, Hebrew בית עברה - “Beit Avarah”, crossing house, ford place) - the name of the place on the Jordan River, where, according to the New Testament, John the Baptist performed the Baptism of Jesus Christ, also where John preached and performed baptism in water and where did Jesus call the apostles of John's disciples (John 1: 28-51).

There are several versions of identifying Bithabara with the place of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. The most accepted one connects this name with the area on the banks of the Jordan River in the territory of the modern states of Israel and Jordan, 8.6 kilometers north of the confluence of the Jordan River in the Dead Sea. At the same time, two archaeological sites claim the exact place of baptism - the traditional place of Epiphany on the west bank of the Jordan River, which is administered by the National Parks of Israel and is called Qasr el-Yahud, and the traditional place of Epiphany on the east, Jordanian bank, located opposite Qasr el Yahuda and referred to as El Mahtas.

 

Church Of St. John the Baptist

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Christian tradition, in Bithavar, Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. In Jewish tradition, this area is called the place where, as well as the sons of Israel, along with Joshua, Jordan first crossed, leaving an altar of 12 stones at the crossroads, according to the number of tribes of Israel, and then entered the promised land.

The Old Testament describes this event in the Book of Joshua as follows:

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

 

The New Testament tells of the baptism of Jesus Christ as follows:

 

21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

 

In the Burdigal itinerary (333), opposite the valley of Epiphany, the hill is indicated, from where the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven. This area is located 30 miles from Jerusalem, and probably the city of Bef Vara, mentioned in the Book of Judges, was located in it (VII, 24).

During excavations in the vicinity of Bifavara, the base of the column was discovered, which is a marble slab in the form of a square with a side of 2 m.

Archaeological research in 1996 in Wadi al-Harrar (on the eastern coast of the Jordan) revealed a Byzantine monastery complex of the 5th-6th centuries, consisting of northern, western and the so-called rectangular churches and other buildings. The northern church was built, according to the Greek inscription on the mosaic floor, under the blessing of Rotoria. Another identified complex belongs to the Sapsas Lavra.

 

 

 

 

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