After church in Tel Aviv, we really wanted to visit the Jordan River in the Galilee region of northern Israel. It is believed that Christ was baptized in this river, but in the country of Jordan, which the Jordan River straddles for most of its journey south. But, we weren’t going to be crossing any borders today, so we opted to visit the Yardenit baptismal site instead. It’s a long drive for us to make on a whim- almost 2 hours each way. But, it was a beautiful day out and the kids were on board with the idea (at least 50% of them anyhow) so we jumped in the car and headed north to Galilee. Jenn and Jim had visited this place with a tour group when they came and told us a little bit about it, but it was still so interesting to be there!
This couple in the middle went down with what appeared to be two ministers from their church. The ministers mentioned that they had been baptized when they were young, but wanted to show their love and further commitment to follow God by being baptized again. There was a man across the way that was being baptized with sprinkles of water on his head. There were others that were cheering and excited after they emerged from the water at what must have felt like the climax of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. We watched for a few minutes and then walked beyond to what was a quiet area somewhat removed from Yardenit.
We found a beautiful spot where they must hold church meetings during busy seasons, but it was quiet, serene and right on the river. Perfect. We spoke about the lessons from Matthew 3, Mark 1 and Luke 3, which included the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.
I got each one of the kids these little journals that they can take notes in or write down their impressions. They’ve really liked having their own space to write what they want about our lessons. I’ve liked that its brought a little bit of investment for each of them to listen intently and record what matters to them. These lessons have been the glue for our family lately.
Love these verses in the Book of Mormon that expound on the baptism of Christ: (2 Nephi 31)
6 And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?
7 Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.
12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
This is such a beautiful area- we were so glad we made the trek up and back to see it in person. And, it has continued to be incredibly powerful to study and share with each other the scripture stories that we hold so dear. There are so many deep, loving, consistent lessons from His life that will always hold a prominent place for me in my own life. He truly led the way and asks us to unselfishly follow Him, only because He knows the fulfilling joy and blessings that will enrich our own lives and souls in the process. I have felt so deeply convicted to learning more and living closer to His example as we have studied and learned these stories together in this special place that surely meant so much to Him.
There were all of these chickens (??) that the girls loved giving bits of food to eat. They were a tiny bit aggressive, so I enjoyed watching safely from the car! The coloring was so interesting though and the girls were laughing so hard at being this close to some wildlife!
I’ve said this before, but we really treasure our weekends and love that church is on Saturday and then having Sunday off of work before heading back into a busy week. Brian and I got out and walked all around Tel Aviv on the most perfect day. We love Neve Tzedek, one of the oldest and nicest areas of Tel Aviv. The water looked more gorgeous than it has in several weeks and it was so nice to soak up the warm sun as well as the gorgeous views all around.
I love this view of Jaffa as it sticks out into the water with its tall church spires and stone buildings. And, again, this water!!
As we near our leave date, it’s getting harder to imagine saying goodbye to this city and this country. Its taught us so much already- lessons that we would never have learned otherwise.