The weather is not very inviting on the banks of the Jordan River, but no obstacle is great enough to prevent this act.
It's cold and rainy, but these pilgrims come too far to not renew their baptismal promises in the same river in which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
For many of these people, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They've travelled to the Holy Sites to follow in Christ's footsteps where He walked. It's also a chance to begin anew.
“It's all about people identifying themselves as being dead, buried and raised with Christ. We see water in this sense as a grave, burying the old, coming out to live the new as it's written in the Scriptures… Christ is a new creature. All things pass away and all things become new. It's all about burying the old, leaving it behind.”
“I feel fantastic, I feel like I'm being made new. I feel like I'm leaving some stuff behind and have a lot of hope for a good future. FLASH This is where our Savior was baptized, Jesus Christ himself, over 2,000 years ago. He was in this water. It doesn't get any better than that.”
Christians from all denominations flock to these waters to complete their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. This Catholic group comes from Cebu, in the Philippines.
MONS. DANIEL ZANICO
Vicario General de Cebú, Filipinas
“I feel that we are all brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus Christ through this wonderful act of baptism. I believe that it's not only for Christians, but for everybody because we feel that the Lord God in His love and compassion is calling everyone to be united.”
“It's important to come here because it helps to strengthen our faith and to be able to walk the path that Jesus walked, and to be able to stay in the places where He and his Apostles preached the Good Word. It's really overwhelming.”
These waters are a symbol of new life from the Old Testament. Following the death of Moses, Joshua was responsible for bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land over the Jordan River. Thus, being baptized in this place leaves a lasting mark on the heart of each pilgrim and promises a new beginning is always possible.