How I baptized myself in the Jordan River
Once we left the Dead Sea, we started to drive towards the Mount Nebo, where Moses is supposed to be buried. We had planned that day to visit Mount Nebo, Madaba and Jesus Christ Baptism Site. While driving to Mount Nebo, my inner voice was calling me towards the Baptism Site first. So, after driving for half an hour, I stopped the car and recalculate the route towards the Baptism Site, practically driving back for 10 minutes.
Another 15-20 minutes drive and we arrive. After parking the car, we found out that there is a shuttle bus driving us directly to the place, and moreover, each shuttle bus has a tour guide. I must confess I thought this was a visit one can do by himself, but in reality, they have everything under control including the tour guides due to the fact that the Baptism Site is essentially at the border with Israel and it’s a military area.
So, having already the tickets payed online, we went directly to the shuttle bus. Essentially, you should expect to jump in a minivan with kind of a poor conditions inside: no air conditioning, damaged chairs and other local aspects you will understand once you will get there. But, it’s the only way to reach the Baptism Site, so not the place to act like a diva. 😊
After other 5-10 minutes’ drive, we arrive at the gate of the Baptism Site. We started by seeing a museum and then we went towards the Jordan river and afterwards to the place where Jesus was baptized. Jordan river used to be bigger 2000 years ago, so now the place is inland far from the current Jordan river. However, the guide explained us that during spring time, the water comes out from the soil in that area as well, like a small water spring.
The tour guide was actually an amazing man! We talked about religion and beliefs and I asked him how does it feel to be Muslim and have a job in a Christian place of worship? And after the experience in the Mosque in Aqaba I was surprised to here that he doesn’t consider this activity as a job, but as his mission in this life. And then he added that the Muslim people believe in all the prophets, including Jesus and the Quran mentions Virgin Mary 40 time while the Bible is mentioning her less than the Quran. And we continued to walk and talk about the fact that there is only one God, and just the name is different in different beliefs.
After a short walk we arrived at the Greek Orthodox Saint John the Baptist Church, quite close to the Jordan river. We went inside and I found out that if I am already baptized in a church by a priest, I can enter the Jordan river and baptize myself in its water as well. So, the guide was very kind and he gave me a special made white dress to use for this ritual, even if we didn’t had cash with us. However, I gave him 14 JOD, the price of the dress, once we got back to the car.
Here I am, doing something I was imagined to do since I was a kid: to enter the Jordan river and to be baptized in its water as Jesus was. Strange childhood dream, one may say, but I was fascinated by this idea for so many years. It is useful to say here that being baptized as a Christian Orthodox, on 6th of January we are celebrating Jesus Baptism right when the Catholics are celebration the Epiphany. And each year, the priests are visiting the people’s houses and blessing them using holy water and singing a song about Jesus Baptism in the Jordan water. So, this was one of the songs of my childhood and I always asked myself how it was for Jesus to be baptized in the Jordan river as an adult.
Maybe it sounds strange, but I must confess it was one of the most powerful gestures I did for myself, based on a childish idea I was fantasizing on when I used to be a kid. So, I entered the Jordan river, I disconnected from the outside world and I baptized myself in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 😊
After leaving that holy place, I felt like having a new superpower or something. I was so happy and I had an epiphany! I was so grateful to myself for listening that inner voice asking me to turn the car and drive back to see this place first. Not doing so, I was probably meeting another tour guide with different views about world beliefs, have other discussions, and probably never found out I can enter and baptize myself in the Jordan river. And, the funny thing was that the place was full of people before changing my clothes. Then, when I approached the river everyone left and I had my ritual in peace and without being disturbed by people taking pictures or talking around.
Today is 6th of January, the Jesus Baptism Day for the Christian Orthodox Church, and I am remembering this story and writing it down as a symbol of this holy day, and as a symbol of the holiness that lives in each of us. We are a projection of a higher consciousness we call God, and we have everything we need to become the masterpiece of our life.
To be continued…
Check out the begining of the Jordanian adventure here: