Commonly referred to as Bethany on the Jordan (Bethabara). Of the several reputed baptismal sites of Jesus Christ, Bethany is thought to be the most likely spot where it occurred. Bethany is located less than 2 kms from the Jordan River near the Dead Sea. It was referenced in the Bible, in John 1:28, as ‘Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing’. In John 10:40, the spot is mentioned as the place to where Jesus fled after being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem: ‘Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days’.
The small hill forming the core of Bethany is called ‘Elijah’s Hill’ and by tradition is considered to be the place from which Elijah ascended to heaven. The ancient remains include structures from the 1st century settlement of John the Baptist; including large plastered pools with steps for full baptismal immersion; and also the 5th-6th century remains of the Byzantine period settlement called Ainon or Saphsaphas (depicted on the 6th century mosaic map floor at Madaba’s St George church).
Bethany is directly on the border with Israel and is an important stop for Christian religious pilgrims and travelers. However, INSIDER’S PETRA recommends it for all travelers to Jordan who traverse the Dead Sea area; as it is an important, interesting and ancient site.