The Roundup -

Sidney Resident Baptized in Jordan River


Srining Tyastuti during her baptism in the Jordan River.

A half-million visitors per year are baptized in the Jordan River, a small stream that forms the boundary between the nations of Jordan and Israel and runs from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The stream has major historical significance to Judaism as an ancient landmark forming the boundary of the land promised to Abraham, and traversed by the Hebrews, per the third chapter of Joshua. The stream is also extremely significant to Christianity, as the traditional location of the baptisms performed by John, the cousin of Jesus, and it is recorded as the location of Jesus' baptism in all four Gospel accounts.

Sidney resident, Srining Tyastuti, was recently one of those taking the baptismal plunge into the historically significant Jordan River. The owner and operator of Sidney business, Asian Bodywork, Tyastuti traveled to Israel at the end of March. Asked why she traveled to a place considered the "Holy Land" by three of the world's major religions, Tyastuti referenced her faith in Christ and also said that visiting Israel was on her "bucket list," a colloquial term meaning a list of things someone wants to do before they die.

"It was a last minute plan, but it was just so amazing," Tyastuti said. "I went to Israel by myself and booked the tour, and it was something I wanted to do."

Tyastuti converted to Christianity from Islam eight years ago, and had not been baptized – a typical and traditional rite upon Christian conversion - even though she attends a local evangelical congregation. Tyastuti says that she is still learning the Christian faith, under the tutelage of the Faith Alliance Church, affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Tyastuti wasn't originally planning to be baptized in the Jordan, but a moment was provided on the tour, a pastor was available for the baptism, and she readily took the opportunity. Baptism, which is a term that comes from the Greek words to immerse, is the dipping of one under water, in symbolic reference to the burial and resurrection of Christ, as explained in the Bible in the sixth chapter of Romans. Implicit in the rite is the symbolic nature of being unified with Christ in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and is typically performed in the Triune formula of the names of the "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," This was the type of baptism received by Tyastuti.

"For me, baptism is about feeling close with God, and being that I'm now a Christian I try to go to church as much as I can," Tyastuti said.

John baptized in springs flowing into the Jordan River because "there was much water there" (John 3:23), a reality still seen today, as witnessed by Tyastuti. "It was quite a wide river," Tyastuti said, "and there were many places to baptize."

"I ran to the minister and had only ten minutes, because I had to run to the bus," attested Tyastuti. The pastor put her near the front of the line, and when asked if she "wanted to be baptized with Christ," she gave her phone away to keep it dry, and for someone to take photographs, and eagerly entered the water.

When asked what the appeal of Christ is for Tyastuti, she said, "It is forgiveness. You are a normal human being, and you sin, and so this is a new opportunity. Christianity, for me, gives you hope for your life. I'm just a simple person with a simple life, and it gives me hope."


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