Jordan is where Jesus began his public ministry with his baptism in its celebrated river by his cousin John. Two thousand years later, the country — and the baptism site — remains a place of Christian pilgrimage and prayer. The Christian population is relatively small, barely 2 percent of an estimated eight million residents. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim.
The population of the country is in flux as Jordan remains home to one of the largest refugee populations in the world. It has been this way for decades, and the reality has only intensified in the wake of the war in Syria and the rise of ISIS — both of which have sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Jordan for safety.
That welcome has come at a price. The influx of refugees has strained the kingdom both economically and socially. The capital of Amman has found its infrastructure and health and education systems stressed almost to the breaking point.
Nonetheless, the kingdom’s Muslim and Christian citizens coexist in relative harmony. Jordanian authorities have invested heavily in the country’s Christian heritage and culture, which only reaffirms Jordan’s status as a land sympathetic to Christians, especially those seeking refuge from persecution and violence in the troubled countries surrounding it.