Two kilometers east of the Jordan River, the small town
Bethabara referred to in the Bible as "Bethany beyond the
Jordan" was once only recognized as Tell Al Kharrar, the
crossing point of Joshua, Elijah and Elisha over the river. It
has now achieved the added importance of being
acknowledged as the village where John the Baptist lived,
preached and baptized.
Here, modern archaeologists located the ruins of
Byzantine monastery with a church built in the time of the
Emperor Anstasius. This is believed to be the ruins of a
church commemorating John the Baptist and is being
excavated and renovated.
Bethabara is known as Al-Maghats in Arabic, meaning
"the place of immersion" .According to the Biblical text in
John's Gospel, John the Baptist announced the coming of
Jesus, and then baptized Him in the waters of the Jordan.
The New Testament, in Mark(9:9-11), describes how, as
Jesus emerged from the water He immediately saw the
Heavens open, the spirit descending on Him like a dove
and a voice coming from heaven saying," You are my
beloved son. With you I am well pleased".
The Bible also refers to Bethany "on the other side of the
Jordan" as the place where Jesus sought sanctuary after
being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem. (Matthew 3:1-
1 7, John 1:28 and (10:40) and some Greek Biblical
manuscripts also allude to this site of Bethany, which
should not be confused with Bethany, the place of the
Ascension near Jerusalem.