National Geographic : 1967 Dec
mentally relegating the Jordan to last place among all rivers, a rowboat maneuvered out into the center. A Greek Orthodox priest stood in the boat, prayer book in hand. With him was a very old woman in a white linen gown. Reciting prayers in the language of the New Testament, the priest dipped basil leaves into the water and sprinkled the woman's head and shoulders in symbolic rebaptism. She wept quietly throughout the ceremony. Afterward I met her and the priest. She was indeed a very old lady, and she knew that death could not be far off. So, she told me, she had journeyed from Australia to cleanse her soul in the waters that had baptized her Re deemer. The white pilgrim's gown she wore would one day serve as her shroud. "Now," she said, "I am at peace." A radiant smile lit her tear-smudged face. HEADING HOMEWARD, plow on his should( farmer nears the red-domed Greek Orthc church, one of two sites in Kafr Kanna cheri; as the spot where Jesus turned water to wine When I turned again to the stream, I did so with respect. Jesus was about 30 years old when His baptism by John launched His ministry. The wild, enigmatic figure of the Baptist looms large in all four Gospels. Most scholars be lieve that Jesus' early followers came from the ranks of John's disciples and-since the dis covery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, only eight miles from the Ford of Hijlah some see in John a link between the Essenes, the apocalyptic Jewish sect that produced the scrolls, and Christianity. According to St. Luke, John lived in the Wilderness of Judah before his public career; Khirbat Qumran, the Essenes' spiritual re doubt, stands in this same desert. Like the Essenes, John preached repentance and the coming of the messiah. To the Essenes, as to er,a (AND THOU, CAPERNAUM... shalt )dox -be brought down to hell" (Mat ;hed thew 11:23). Only ruins remain of the lake shore city, heart of Jesus'