By the time of Jesus the immersion in water had become a ritually prescribed practice by the rabbis to cleanse one both physically and spiritually.
Such immersions have historically been accomplished through the use of the mikvah or ritual bath and were done by the holy priests prior to performing sacred Temple services and by both men and women to purify themselves,
before going into the holy Temple.
Today, in addition to its monthly use by orthodox Jewish women, it is a ritual performed by orthodox men before the High Holy days and by brides before their weddings.
The rabbis teach that the mikvah is reminiscent of the fluids of the womb; thus, when one emerges from the mikvah, he or she experiences a spiritual rebirth and rejuvenation.
When used as a part of conversion to Judaism it was said that as the convert emerged from these waters his status was changed and he was referred to as “a little child just born”
or “a child of one day.” Thus, we see that the mikvahcreates a transformation from the everyday world to the realm of the holy and spiritual and is an intricate part of the new birth experience.
The New Testament tells us that John the Baptist taught a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin” (Luke 3:3) and that he baptized Jesus, although somewhat unwillingly saying that Jesus should be baptizing him. But Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:14-15)
More than one site has been claimed as being the one at which John baptized Jesus. The Yardenit, situated as it is on the Jordan River as it flows out of the Sea of Galilee,
is among them. In beautiful surroundings you can yourself experience the cleansing baptizing waters of the Jordan
for the first time or rededicate yourself to God through a ritual immersion at this historic location.
In your mind’s eye imagine a white robed Jesus entering into the water as John immerses him in the spiritually rejuvenating waters. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a white dove descends and alights upon the Master as we hear the resounding voice—“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
As you rise from the water you will have the sensation of having been cleansed of the cares of this world and of rededication to the service of God and the Master.
You have been spiritually reborn, spiritually rejuvenated. You too are a member of God’s family, a well pleasing son or daughter.