Witness the Holy Land
We arrive in Tel Aviv, where we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security. We are then transferred to our motor coach and drive to the majestic town of Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We begin our explorations with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage will proceed to the Church of Ascension, descend to Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, and there visit the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed. We will enter Jerusalem through the Dung Gate and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35 acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Sam. 24:18- 25). On this site now stands the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El-Aksa Mosque. From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Sister of Zion Convent (to see the Pavement where Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate), Ecco Homo Arch, and then follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the ancient Cardo. This afternoon, we will pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. Time permitting, we will see Israel’s Knesset, the huge bronze Menorah, and visit to children section of Yad Vashem. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. After dinner, we will visit the Rabbi’s Tunnel.
Have Communion at the Garden Tomb
We begin the day by driving to Ein Karem village, the birthplace of John the Baptist, and see the Church of Visitation. We then go to Mt. Zion and The Upper Room, where Jesus spent those last momentous hours with his disciples before his passion, and it was also here where the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples on Pentecost. A short walk takes is to the Southern Steps, which are the actual steps that Jesus would have walked up to the temple. From there, we will go to the Israel Museum, including the Bronfman Archaeological Museum and the Shrine of the Book Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Then, you will be fascinated by your visit to a model of Jerusalem (1 to 50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Late in the afternoon, we will visit the Garden Tomb with a special Communion Service. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. After breakfast we begin our days sightseeing with a visit to the Ancient City of David dating back to 586 B.C. The City of David also reveals an interesting tidbit of information about the ancient postal system in Israel. From here, we have a short walk to the Shaft and opening of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. We will walk through the shaft area to see the Siloam Channel which is believed to have been built during Solomon’s reign in the tenth or ninth century B.C.E. The waters of Hezekiah’s Tunnel channel water away from the Gihon Springs into the underground tunnel beneath the city towards the Siloam Pool, on the opposite side of the city. For those interested, can walk through the water-way of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, however, be prepared as it will be wet and cold and good water shoes are needed along with a flashlight. Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Siloam Pool are still being used today. Afterwards, we will have some free time in the Old City. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. Today, we depart Jerusalem for Galilee, visiting the following biblical sites along the way: Caesarea (Acts 9 & 25), Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kgs. 9:15; Rev. 16:16), Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs. 18), Zippori, Nazareth (Luke 1 & 2), and then onto Galilee for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Journey Alongside the Sea of Galilee
There is nothing quite like watching a sunrise on the Sea of Galilee from your guest house or from a boat. Today will include many biblical sites along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and in the Upper Jordan Valley. We also visit the Jesus Boat, that dates back to the time of Christ. e.g. Capernaum (Matt. 4:13), Mount of Beatitudes (Matt. 5-7), Tabgha (Feeding of 5000; Mark 6), Church of Peter of Primacy (John 21), Magdala (Matt. 15:39; Luke 8:2); Caesarea Philippi (Paneas; Mark 8:27), view Mt. Hermon (Deut. 3:8), view Border of Lebanon (Josh. 11:17), and Hazor (Josh. 11:10; 1 Kgs. 9:15). Time permitting, we will make a visit to Belvoir (Crusaders Fortress). Dinner and overnight are in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy optional baptisms in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We make our way for Gideon Springs and then a short drive takes us Tel Beit Shean (1 Sam. 31:10) to experience an incredible visit of this well-preserved Decapolis city. We travel through the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea area and visit Qumran, the possible settlement of the first-century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The descent down to the Dead Sea is approximately 3,000 feet in 13 miles. We will arrive at the hotel late afternoon in time to enjoy a relaxing swim/float in the Dead Sea. Please be sure you bring good water shoes/closed end shoes, as the bottom surface can be rough on your feet. Dinner and overnight are in the Ein Bokek/Dead Sea area. After a leisurely breakfast and morning float/swim, we leave our hotel later this morning and start our day’s sightseeing with a short drive to Masada, where we will ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of the cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Here, we survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples, and palaces. We continue to Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul. From here, time permitting, we will include a visit through the Valley of Elah, where David defeated Goliath. We then begin our drive to Tel Aviv with a visit to Jaffa, where we will have our farewell dinner. After dinner, we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight back home.