Welcome to Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan
Whatever one’s religious persuasion, it’s hard not to be moved by this minimal pile of ruins lying at the end of the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea. This is the site, archaeologists assure us, where John the Baptist preached, where Jesus was baptised, where the first five apostles met, and where, thereby, the foundations of the early Christian faith were laid. They chose an auspicious spot, as many also believe this was the place from where prophet Elijah (who was born in Mar Elias in north Jordan) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind.
Epic desert landscapes, hospitable people and ancient ruins are Jordan’s most obvious drawcards, but a closer look reveals that, despite its arid…