Hiding Cave of the Baptist at Aenon
In one of the beautiful paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, we find John the Baptist pointing to Heaven with a finger with several debating over the same. However, this symbolic young face does not entirely agree with the representation of John the Baptist as it has been passed down to us. Probably it would seem more appropriate for the character of John the Evangelist having his fingers raised and pointing up to divine existence Presently there is an overall agreement in qualifying the Gospel of John as the most responsive to the call to divine existence, where he gives evidence to have been more concerned in passing down the spirit of the Gospel message than to make a precise report of the historical event.
It is for this reason that at times we tend to find the chronicles of John conflicting with the chronology or with the interpretations of the Synoptic Gospels and we are not attracted in considering it as a vital question. It is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels about the hiding cove of the Baptist at Aenon or his second capture. John is the only evangelist to have attested that the Baptist was in a place known as Aenon.
Baptizing at Aenon near Salem
It was after this that Jesus and his disciples had gone to the land of Judeo and had remained with them and were baptized. John had been baptizing at Aenon near Salim since there was plenty of water there and the people had come there to be baptized.
Till then he had not been put into prison by King Herod. A discussion had come up between the disciples of John and a Jew over the purification and they came to John asking him `Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordon, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing and all are going to him’. John had replied saying that `no one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom, the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease’.
Aenon – Springs
In the writings of Maria Valtorta, few of the pages, mostly in PMG chapters 148, 180.574 are dedicated to the actions of the Baptist and the sad series of events which had ended his life, though no mention has been made of public baptism being performed at Aenon.
The name Aenon is meant to be springs, which is a common name for any place abounding with water and since there was much water there. Hence it is not easy to conclude which is the Aenon that has been named in the Gospel of John.
Archaeologist Dr Shimon Gibson is of the belief that a cave which was discovered in 1999 bears evidence of the presence of Christian during the time of John till the eleventh century. According to legend, an enticing theory is that this seems to be the cave where Elizabeth had sheltered John from the murderous soldiers of King Herod.