Experience Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee
We arrive in Tel Aviv and have a short drive to our hotel in the Tel Aviv area in time for dinner and overnight. In the morning we depart for Galilee to visit Biblical sites at Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion. We also see Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Then we continue to Nazareth Village, Church of the Annunciation, Church of St. Joseph, “Old/New” Market, and Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle – John 2) where we will have a time for renewal of wedding vows. We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin the next day at Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Afterwards, we visit the Ginosar “Jesus Boat” and then board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” to set sail on the Sea of Galilee. For those interested, our lunch stop includes the option of ordering the special St. Peter’s Fish. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then we head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). Then we visit the Jordan River for a baptismal remembrance celebration. Finally, we 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).
Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus in Jerusalem
We begin today on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the famous, breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the ancient olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane where we will have a time for prayer and reflection. Then we continue to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and proceed to the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David, which is called the Temple Mount. This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the El-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. From the temple area 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, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and then conclude our day with a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. After breakfast, 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. Next, we drive to the City of David, and then we go on a short walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through the tunnel. Anyone wanting to stay dry can walk through Hezekiah’s shaft. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We end our day in worship at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
Experience the Judean Wilderness
After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. At Qumran, there will be a time for riding camels. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. 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 make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim or float. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a visit to Qasr El-Yahud, the newly excavated site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. If possible, we will also include a short visit to Jericho. Then we arrive at our hotel by the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight. The next morning we make our way from the Dead Sea to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. Time permitting, we visit Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. Then we continue to Jaffa for a special Farewell Dinner. Afterwards, we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.