In the Footsteps of John the Baptist

Yohanan Cohen was born miraculously to an elderly aristocratic couple – Elizabeth and Zechariah. While Zechariah was performing the incense offering at the golden alter of the Jewish temple, an angel appeared and announced the birth. The doubtful father-to-be asked for a sign and was struck dumb. Only at the Brit Milah – the circumcision ceremony of the newborn, did Zechariah regain his speech, crying: “His name is John!” 

When John became a man, he left the comfort of his aristocratic home and embarked on a spiritual journey. He lived in seclusion in the Judean desert, wearing a camel hair shirt, living on locusts and wild honey. He preached repentance, confession and purification of the soul. Many believed he was the reincarnation of Elijah. He baptized his followers in the Jordan river, where Elijah rose to the skies. He baptized Yeshua of Nazareth but did not believe that he was the Messiah.

John’s growing charisma threatened the king who arrested him. He insulted the queen who had him executed. John was later declared the forerunner of Jesus and the first Christian martyr. His message became the foundation of the monastic movement. His spirit continues to inspire. His voice is still heard in the silence of the Judean desert.

Route: St. John’s church, Ein Kerem > Mary’s spring > Visitation church > Museum of the Good Samaritan > Qasr al-Yahud baptismal site > Deir Hijleh monastery > Qumran

Duration: 8-10 hours

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