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Chapter 23 The Great Gospel of John, Book 1

(John 3:23) John too was still baptising at Aenon, near to Salim, because water was plentiful in that region, and people were constantly coming for baptism.

(John 3:24) This was before John's imprisonment.

5. As I was travelling through the land of Judaea, I also came to the area where John was baptising in the small desert at Aenon near Salim because there was plenty of water, whereas in the region of Bethabara the Jordan had very little water and the same was muddy, dirty and full of foul-smelling vermin. That is why John had changed his location, preached his severe penitential sermons at Aenon and there baptised the people who had adopted his teaching and done true penance.

6. Among those there were also many who had already adopted My teaching, but had not yet been baptised by John. These asked Me whether it was necessary to be baptised by John beforehand. And I said to them, 'Only one thing is needed and that is to actually comply with My teaching. But whosoever wishes to be cleansed by John beforehand, while he is still doing this work, will only benefit from such a cleansing.' When I had spoken thus, many went to have themselves baptised by John.

(John 3:25) Some of John's disciples had fallen into a dispute with Jews (who had come there) about purification (ie, About My baptism with water compared to John's testimony).

7. A dispute arose about the purification by John and My baptism, for John's disciples could not understand that I, too, baptised with water, since they had heard John's testimony that I would not baptise with water, but with the Holy Spirit. Many Jews, who were already My disciples, maintained that My baptism was a true baptism. For, although I baptised with water like John, My baptism was the only valid one as I did not baptise with natural water alone, but at the same time also with the water of God's Spirit, giving the baptised the obvious power to be called God's children.

(John 3:26) And they came to John and said, "Rabbi! The man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, to whom you bore witness (that he would baptise with the Holy Spirit), here he is, baptising (with water), and crowds are flocking to him!"

8. Following these discussions, John's disciples went with the Jews to John and said, 'Listen, Rabbi! The same man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan; to whom you bore witness that he would baptise with the Holy Spirit, is now here in the vicinity and baptises also with water as you do. How are we to understand this? Is this Baptist really the One to whom you bore the great witness?'

9. John however said to his disciples, 'Go and ask him: "Are you the one who is to come or should we wait for another?" Pay good attention to what he will be telling you and then tell me. Only then will I fully answer your query.'

10. Thereupon several of John's disciples come to Me and ask Me as suggested by John. But I give them the well-known answer, that they should tell John what they have seen, namely, that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and how the gospel of the Kingdom of God is being preached to the poor. And happy he who does not take offence. - The disciples again return to John and immediately tell him what they have seen and heard.

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