BAR 31:01, Jan/Feb 2005
Where John Baptized
Bethany beyond the Jordan
It may or may not be the spot in the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, but Byzantine Christians seemed to think it was.
And its not on the western shore of the river, but on the eastern shorein modern Jordan.
When it comes to locating places mentioned in the Gospels, the Byzantine Christians are often worth taking seriously. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the supposed site of Jesus tomb only in the fourth century A.D., and for many years its identification was thought to be improbable, if not fanciful, because it was deep inside Jerusalems Old City walls. (In ancient times, graves were typically outside a citys walls.) But the Byzantine identification has now been confirmed archaeologically.a