We went to Bethany beyond the Jordan where John the Baptist would have baptized.
The river used to be much bigger and wider than it is today.
In those days, people were baptized (immersed) for various reasons; for ritual cleansing, for purification of diseases, if you touched a dead animal or person, for repentance from sins, if a Gentile would convert, he would need to be baptized for proclamation of doctrine, or if one was being ordained as a rabbi, he would also be baptized. At the age of 30, one can be ordained a rabbi.
John would inaugurate Jesus into His public Messianic mission.
We were told that when they were baptized, one would walk into the water and immerse himself. The rabbi who was presiding would not dunk them as they do today. One who was baptized was "submitting to the rabbi's authority".
Saying once again - "I submit to Your authority, Rabbi Jesus!"
Our bus then drove along this winding road (the Jericho road) out to the wilderness. We were told that story of the Good Samaritan would have taken place along this road.
Sarah would have sent Hagar out to her death here. But the angel of the Lord showed her mercy.
Our next stop was the wilderness. It was a good place for bandits to hide. And a place of flash floods. It was literally the Valley of the Shadow of Death.