This article was originally published at Christianity Today on December 19.
For fifty years, John baptized Jesus in private.
But last week on the western bank of the Jordan River, landmines were cleared to allow visitors a first look at a faded fresco of the baptism in a crumbling Ethiopian monastery.
Trudging through mud while avoiding well-marked areas warning of live charges remaining from the Six-Day War, intrepid pilgrims once again received iconic witness of the beloved Son.
“Israel placed the mines between 1967 and 1971 because there was a war,” Marcel Aviv, head of the Israel National Mine Action of Authority, a branch of the Defense Ministry, told the Times of Israel, standing a few hundred yards from Jordan.
“But now it’s empty because it’s a border of peace.”
Israel partially reopened the Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site in 2011. But visitors…
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