Journey through the Holy Land
In Tel Aviv, we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security. Depending on arrival time, we will have a visit to Joppa. We transfer to our motor coach for a short drive to our hotel in Netanya in time for dinner and overnight. Today, we depart for the Galilee, visiting the following Biblical sites: Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10), and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah prayed, and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven (1 Kings 18). We drive to Nazareth to visit the “Nazareth Village” with detailed explanation of what life was like during the time of Jesus (Luke 1 & 2). We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast, we will have a couple of hours for time and reflection on the shore Sea of Galilee. Then, we visit the Ancient Boat Museum to see a boat from the time of Jesus. Afterwards, we make our way to the Mt. of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), with time for reflection and worship. We continue to Capernaum (Jesus’ base for His early ministry). Time permitting, we drive to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made the good confession of Christ as “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). In the evening, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel by the Sea of Galilee.
Travel to the Dead Sea
Today, we visit Mt. Arbel with its panoramic view over the Sea of Galilee. Next, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where King Saul and his sons’ bodies were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Then, you will have the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River (Additional Cost). We then ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 NASB). After breakfast, conditions permitting, we’ll include a visit to Jericho. Then, we drive to Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, and will have a couple of hours for reflection. We then travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada, where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. Afterwards, we drive down to the shore of the Dead Sea to swim/float in its waters. Then, we return to Jerusalem. The road from the Dead Sea area to Jerusalem is an ascent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
Walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel
We begin the day on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove. We also visit the Church of the Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed before his arrest. We enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate, and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18-25). On this site now stands the El-Aksa Mosque, and the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in Islam). From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to walk the Via Dolorosa, including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pool of Bethesda, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A short walk takes us to stand on the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We then have a short walk to visit the City of David to view some of the amazing archaeological finds from the past several years. While in the City of David we take a walk-through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Be sure to bring a flashlight as we make our way through the dry tunnel. As we exit the tunnel, we visit the Pool of Siloam excavation site. Afterwards, we board our bus to take us back to the Western Wall and to tour the Rabbi’s Tunnel. We have a later dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Visit Bethlehem and Pass Rachel’s Tomb
This morning, we have a time for reflection at Mount Scopus, before visiting the Upper Room and St. Peter Gallicantu. Then, we drive to Bethlehem, passing by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. Next, we travel to the Judaen Wilderness to visit Elah Valley where David faced Goliath. On the way, we will stop at the monastery at Abu Gosh. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we visit Golgotha and the Garden Tomb for worship and ommunion, along with an hour for reflection. We will have either the option for free time to shop in the Old City or visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum, Afterwards, we will visit Herodian before our Farewell Dinner together. Then, we transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back home.