Experience Ministry Areas of Jesus in Galilee
Upon our arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport, we meet our local Israeli representative and on our way to our hotel we make a stop in Joppa (Jaffa). We then drive to our newly built hotel in Netanya, right on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Dinner is served, with an orientation meeting and optional walk to follow. After an abundant breakfast buffet we journey northward by motor coach along the coast to Caesarea, built nearly 500 years ago by King Herod. Today it is nestled between the banana groves and the sand skirted sea. Walk through the ancient theater, the Crusader city and the fantastic aqueduct that served as a back drop for the book of Acts. From here we depart to Mt. Carmel site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal, proceed to Megiddo which gave its name to Armageddon. We continue on to Nazareth, Cana and finally arrive at the outskirts of Tiberias. We end the day as we arrive at our hotel located right on the Sea of Galilee shoreline. After dinner, we enjoy sitting together for an optional time of fellowship and worship. We start the day by visiting the excavations at Bethsaida, “The House of the Fisherman – the hometown of Peter, Andrew and Philip. From here, we drive by Hazor, a city taken by Joshua, and visit a re-constructed Talmudic village called Katzrin where we see how people lived in the first few centuries. We continue driving north through the Golan Heights to Dan and its refreshing springs, one of the sources of the River Jordan. Close by is Caesarea Philippi. Here Peter made his declaration about Jesus. Our next stop is Nimrod, a Crusader castle with a great view. Those wanting to hike to the top will be given the opportunity. Finally, we ascend to the eastern heights of the Golan and visit Bental. When we approach Kuneitra, we are only 36 miles from Damascus on the same road Saul of Tarsus used during his encounter with Christ. We return at the end of the day to our accommodations for dinner and overnight. We begin the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, enjoying a quiet and peaceful worship service together. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century AD. a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we visit Tabgha, remembering the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Reading from Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount, we travel to the Mount of Beatitudes. Close by is Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Following lunch, we travel to Chorazin where an impressive synagogue stands. We head to the cliffs of Arbel for a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee. We end the day by renewing baptismal vows in the Jordan River at Yardenit. Dinner and overnight is back at our home on the shores of the Galilee. An optional gathering will once again take place out by the water.
Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus in Jerusalem
After breakfast, we begin our drive down the Jordan Valley as we head towards Jerusalem. The highway will take us to many of the following biblical sites: Beit Shean, a well-preserved Decapolis Roman city. Here the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. We travel on to Jericho, the ancient city where the wall came tumbling down. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem is an ascent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. To conclude our day, we will pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. There will be some free time to stop and shop at an olive wood shop. Finally arrive in the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for our dinner and overnight. An “orientation walk” will take place after dinner. We get our first glimpse of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives, beholding a breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. We walk down the “Palm Sunday” route to the Garden of Gethsemane. We will have an opportunity for a short worship time and devotion at the Garden of Gethsemane. Next, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Dung Gate and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Temple Mount. On this site now stands the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El-Aksa Mosque. Our walk continues along the Via Dolorosa to 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 to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This afternoon you will be fascinated by your visit to the Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1 to 50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here we will also see the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We proceed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem, with another optional walk.
Explore the Judean Wilderness & The City of David
Leaving Jerusalem, we will descend down to the Dead Sea and the wilderness of Judah. Our first stop will be Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We will enjoy a walk back to the water falls, hopefully seeing ibex and Cooneys along the way. Next, we drive further south along the Dead Sea to Masada. Here 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. An optional walk down the snake path will be offered. In the afternoon, we drive back north to Qum-ran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We end the day with a “float” in the Dead Sea (30% salt and mineral). On our way back to Jerusalem, we stop for a view of the Wilderness of Judah. Here, we read from Isaiah 40 and Psalm 23. We travel back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Another optional walk will be offered. Our next day begins by visiting the famous Western (Wailing) Wall of Jerusalem. You will have the opportunity to pray at the Wall. Next, we will experience the amazement of the Western Wall Tunnel as we walk 1,200 feet along the western wall as it extends to the north. From here we walk to the Jewish Quarter where we visit The Shoreshim Shop. Moshe, an Orthodox Jew, will share an informative talk about his Jewish faith. We’ll enjoy lunch in the quiet Jewish Quarter of the Old City. In the afternoon, we will also visit the City of David, the ancient part of the city that dates back to the Old Testament. Here, you will see where the area was excavated back in the 1980’s. After seeing the excavations, there will be an optional walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Flashlights and water shoes will be needed. Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a 1,720-foot tunnel that ends at the new excavations of the Pool of Siloam . From here we will walk through a 2,000-year-old channel newly discovered by archaeologists that will lead us to the SW corner of the Temple Mount. Here we stand on a Herodian street and see the massive stones brought down by the Romans in 70 AD. Nearby we will sit on the southern steps of the Temple where Jesus no doubt taught. Later in the afternoon we will visit the Garden Tomb with an optional communion service, a very special time of reflecting upon the death and resurrection of Jesus. We enjoy our Farewell Dinner and then overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. In the morning we transfer to the Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A.