Site of Jesus' baptism now a cesspool

Thursday, July 22, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

As an indication of how severe Israel's water crisis is becoming, the site along the lower portion of the Jordan River where Jesus was likely baptized by John the Baptist may soon be declared off-limits due to pollution.

The baptismal site welcomes more than 100,000 Christian pilgrims who wish to also be baptized there every year. Though it sits right on the border between Israel and Jordan in a closed military zone, coordination between the Israeli army and Jordanian authorities has kept the site open to tourists.

But the ongoing regional drought has largely dried up the once-mighty Jordan River. The only thing flowing into the lower Jordan today is raw sewage from the nearby Palestinian town of Jericho, which has badly contaminated the baptismal site that lies just a mile or so downstream.

According to a report by The Media Line, Israeli officials are considering erecting signs at the site that read: "Polluted Waters. Entry Forbidden."

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