Clergy Familiarization Tour of Israel

Cottage On The Dead Sea
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

Tour the Holy Land

Today, we arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel. We board our bus and transfer to our hotel at Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea, for dinner and overnight. This morning after breakfast, we take time to swim in the Dead Sea, which is a 5-minute walk from our hotel. We then take a short drive to Masada, the famous mountain with a fortress built by King Herod. This is followed by Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul. Then, we travel to Qumran the settlement of the Essenes, followed by lunch. Our next stop is Qasr El-Yahud, the newly excavated site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. We ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight at our hotel. “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). We begin the day on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage will proceed down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, and the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed. We will walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple to walk through the Rabbinical Tunnels. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:1825). On this site now stands El-Aksa Mosque, and the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in Islam). We make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, to walk the Via Dolorosa, including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We then walk to the Southern Steps, to stand on the original steps that Jesus walked on as he entered the Temple area. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Visit Biblical Sites

This morning, we visit the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. Plus, we spend time in the Archaeological Museum to visit the New Testament artifacts. Our visits continue with the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (Mark 14). Next, we drive to visit Solomon’s Quarry . we end our day with worship and communion at the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. Our day begins with a visit to Bethany, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. We then journey to tour the Old Testament City of David, a unique archaeological find. We also will walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes if you want to walk through the water tunnel. Those wanting to stay dry can walk through the Canaanite Tunnel. A short walk then takes us to the newly excavated Pool of Siloam. Proceed to Bethlehem for a wonderful visit to the ancient Church of the Nativity and to a Shepherd’s Field, where we will hold our Sunday worship. We also enjoy visiting an olive wood workshop below a wonderful souvenir and gift store. Time permit In the afternoon, we will drive to the Valley of Elah, where David met Goliath. Then, we return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight at our hotel. Today, we begin with a stop at the Old Roman Road and stop to view the Wadi Kelt and the Wilderness of Judea. We proceed to Jericho and view the Mount of Temptation and drive past the ruins of ancient, Biblical Jericho. We include a special visit to a wonderful ministry, “Seeds of Hope” (time permitting) and then, we drive north along the Jordan Valley with our first stop at Beit Shean, where the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung by the Philistines on the walls of this city (1 Samuel 31:8-12). Beit Shean is one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities, and here we enjoy the ruins of the theatre, the main street, bathhouse, and more. We then continue to Harod (Gideon) Spring, where Gideon chose 300 warriors to fight the Midianites (Judges 7). We then proceed north to the Sea of Galilee, passing through Tiberias on our way to our hotel. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel by the Sea of Galilee.

See the Sea of Galilee

There is nothing like watching a sunrise on the Sea of Galilee from our hotel. After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. We will head to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam & the ancient City Gate. Afterwards, we make our way to the Mt. of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), where we walk down the ancient path to the Sea of Galilee followed by visits to Seven Springs and St. Peter’s Primacy (John 21). Then we visit Capernaum (Jesus’ base for His early ministry) followed by a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a visit to the “Jesus Boat” exhibit. Time permit We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to the new Magdala archaeological site, which is rich in cultural history for both Jews and Christians. We return to our hotel by the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. This morning, we leave the Sea of Galilee. After a brief stop at the Village of Nain, we drive to Nazareth for visits to the Church of Annunciation, Mary’s Well (Orthodox Church), and the Precipice. Megiddo (Armageddon, Rev. 16:16) is our next stop on the way to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah the Prophet challenged Ahab (1 Kings 18). Afterwards, we drive to Herod’s city of Caesarea. This is where the first gentile, Cornelius, became a Christian (Acts 10); and where St. Paul defended himself in front Felix (Acts 23:23) and was imprisoned for two years before he sailed to Rome. Our day concludes in Netanya on the Mediterranean Coast, where we will have our Farewell Dinner and spend our last night in Israel. For those that are traveling on flights that depart this evening or early a.m., they will be transferred to Ben Gurion Airport after our farewell dinner.