X is for X Marks Jesus’ Footprints

27-XMarks3It would appear, from studying the scriptures that Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time in Jordan. He did, though, make several trips over here.

I’ve already told you the story about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus down at Bethany beyond the Jordan. Just a few days ago, I told you about Jesus coming over to Umm Qais (Gadara) and casting some demons out of a guy and into the pigs that were grazing on the hillside.

There’s another place here in Jordan where Jesus walked.

Anjara is up north a few kilometers, near Tishbe where Prophet Elijah was born, in the mountains of Gilead. It has long been believed that Jesus, his mother, and his disciples passed through on their way to the Decapolis cities and stopped to rest in one of the caves.

27-XMarks2Back in the 1930s a proper shrine, Our Lady of the Mountain, was built to commemorate the holy place. There is a large hall at the shrine to receive pilgrims who come to visit the life-size carved wooden statue of the Virgin holding the infant Jesus.

There’s an interesting story about the statue. It was brought from Jerusalem where it had been stored away and nearly forgotten. It is between 150-200 years old and was carved in Italy.

Photo credit: Elias Icons Sacred Arts Studio

Photo credit: Elias Icons Sacred Arts Studio

One morning back in May, 2010 one of the Sisters was cleaning the church when she had an eerie experience. She said the face of the Virgin came to life and wept two tears of blood.

Well, the bishop of Jordan came round and had the tears from one eye removed for testing, and they were found to be human blood. He left the tears from the other eye so pilgrims could see it for themselves

Anjara was designated by the late Pope John Paul II as a Millennium 2000 pilgrimage site.

The cave was designated by the Catholic Church as one of the five pilgrimage sites, along with Bethany beyond the Jordan, Tell Mar Elias, Machaerus, and Mount Nebo.

The shrine of Our Lady of the Mountain is administered by the Fathers of the Congregation of the Incarnate Word and it is the only shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.