Our journey in the Footsteps of Jesus continued today as we visited the places where two crucial events took place which launched Jesus from obscurity to the center of the public stage: his baptism by John in the Jordan River and his time of testing in the nearby desert wilderness. We visited the traditional site of Jesus' baptism just outside of Jericho and reflected on the powerful statement of Covenant identity the Father gave as he poured out his Spirit on Jesus. We had an opportunity to get into the river and reflect on the meaning of our own baptisms in this special place. Then we headed west into the forbidding Judean desert and hiked to the ancient Monastery of St George, which clings to the cliffs of the Wadi Qelt in the region where Jesus spent his forty days of fasting. After a vigorous hike and a visit with the hospitable monks of St. George's, we moved to a breath-taking desert overlook for lunch and a time of worship. As we gazed out over the desert where Jesus wrestled with the devil himself and came out victorious, we considered what it means to engage in our own spiritual battles by exercising the authority given to us as sons and daughters of the King. As if all this weren't enough, we topped off the day with a visit off-the beaten path to the ruins of Herod's winter palace outside of Jericho.