Yardent Baptismal Site on the Jordan River
Kinneret, Jordan Valley, Galilee Israel
Type of Prayer Place
This is a visitor’s center on the Jordan River in Galilee where those who wish to be baptized in the Jordan River have access to the river and facilities needed. Although this site capitalizes on Scripture in Matthew 3:13-17 where Jesus allowed himself to be baptized by John and as a result the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove, this is not in the geographical area where the baptism historically took place. Our guide told us that the area of the Jordan where the baptism actually took place was not a tourist safe area. Therefore, this place was opened and has drawn countless pilgrims and tourists who want to wade in or be baptized in the Jordan River.
The access to the river is quite good, with cement ramps with handrails that go into roped off pools in the river. For those wishing immersion baptism, the visitor’s center requires the rental of a white baptismal robe and this price includes a towel, changing and shower facilities. There are also benches along the bank of the river and large trees and the river is quite picturesque here. It also has a very distinctive opaque green color that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
The site also includes a restaurant, snack bar and a very large gift shop and plenty of parking.
How I used this place of prayer
At first I felt that this was more of a tourist attraction than a sacred place. And of course there were many tourist wading in the water simply for the experience of it. However there were those who were there to be baptized and it was obvious that this held deep meaning for them. I spent a good bit of time sitting on a bench on the bank of the river simply enjoying the beauty of the river itself and mediating on it. Later on the website I saw that they say that they have a “eucalyptus grove where private prayer meetings may be conducted.” I also spent a few moments wading in the water in meditation.
Hours of Operation & Admission Requirements
Open every day except Yom Kippor. Closes early on Fridays and Jewish holidays. Admission is free; Mandatory $10.00 robe rental fee for those wishing to be baptized.
Contact Information / Sponsoring Organization
Handicap accessible. They report having an “inclinator” down to the pools for the handicapped.
Added by Karen Barber on July 24, 2012