Qasr el Yahud

Qasr el Yahud

Pilgrims enjoying a Christian tour of the Holy Land will not want to miss one of the most spiritual experiences of a trip to Israel, a baptism in the Jordan River. A baptism at Qasr el Yahud is particularly uplifting, since the site is traditionally held to be the location of the baptism of Jesus. Other miracles occurred here as well: the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land at this river crossing, and Elijah ascended to heaven at this spot.

Qasr el Yahud was a Jordanian baptism site prior to the Six Day War. When Israel captured the area in 1967, baptisms ceased due to security concerns. The site has recently been reopened under the auspices of the Israel Parks Authority, which regulates the water cleanliness and maintains on-premises showers and special areas for prayer. It is one of only two organized baptismal facilities in Israel (the other is Yardenit, in the Galilee).

On the other side of the border, the Jordanian government has established another baptism site. Because the river is so narrow at this point, it is possible to wave and even converse with pilgrims on the other side.

Your visit can also include a tour of the many nearby landmark churches. Some are empty but a number are still in use. You may also want to visit the biblical sycamore tree in Jericho and Mount Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by the devil.

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