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Israel/Holy Land Tour

Clergy Familiarization Biblical Travel Tour
January 10th - 19th 2018

Church of All Nations
Ruin of Beit Shean
Dan River in Israel
Shrine of the Book, Israel

Biblical Travel Tour to Israel

We begin our biblical travel tour in Galilee where we will visit some of the following sites: Caesarea where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion, Megiddo, and Mt. Carmel where Elijah prayed and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven. Time permitting, we’ll stop at the Druze Village and then continue to Nazareth and Cana. While in Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding reception, those who would like to will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows. We’ll arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The next morning, we continue our biblical travel tour as we head north to the Golan Heights and view the area from a special lookout. We drive to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made the good confession of Christ as “the Son of the living God.” We will have a short hike/walk to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. Afterwards, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. Here the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls after they were defeated by the Philistines.  There is nothing like watching a sunrise on the Sea of Galilee. The next day of our biblical travel tour, we make our way to Tabgha, the Primacy of Peter, and the Mt. of Beatitudes with time for reflection, prayer and teaching. Capernaum is next (Jesus’ base for His early ministry), then we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We will visit the top of Mt. Tabor, the traditional site of the Transfiguration. We then ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight.

The Dead Sea Region

The following day of our biblical travel tour, we begin our sightseeing and drive to the Wilderness. The road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea region is a decent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. Our first stop will be at Masada, where we will make our way by cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and palaces. From here we drive to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. A short drive takes us to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Afterwards, we follow the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea. We will make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a short visit to Jericho. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.

Did you know? A familiarization tour is an opportunity for clergy to experience Israel before returning with their own group!

ITT Character

Walk the Via Dolorosa

We begin our explorations of the Holy City with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the walled City of Jerusalem. It is majestic in every way. Our biblical travel tour pilgrimage will continue along the Palm Sunday Road beginning at the Mount of Olives and continuing to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive groves. We will have a special Eucharist this day in a beautiful, private setting near the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations). We will enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and walk to the holiest site in the entire Jewish world, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area bought by King David. On this site now stands the iconic, magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El-Aksa Mosque. From the temple area, we walk to St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Church, the Pools of Bethseda, and the Ecce Homo Arch where Pilate stood and condemned Jesus to death. It is an incredible experience to be at the site of His public flogging and humiliation. We then walk up the traditional path of the Stations of the Cross and end our journey at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In the late afternoon, we go to Bethlehem on our biblical travel tour and visit the Church of the Nativity and St. Jerome’s Cave. We will walk up the ancient, man-made mountain of the Herodian and descend through the tunnels and cisterns of this interesting palace.

Jerusalem

We continue our biblical travel tour at the Israeli Museum where we will see a fascinating scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. We will be at the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Next, we will go back to the Old City again and spend time in the archaeological excavations along the ancient temple steps. Then we will take a breathtaking tour of the Western Wall through unearthed tunnels. The beauty of the city, the complexity of the site, and the achievements of the ancient builders will make for an unforgettable day. We will stop at St. Peter Gallicantu and the ancient Roman steps outside the house of Caiaphas. We are certainly walking in the steps of Jesus on our biblical travel tour. Dinner and overnight will be in Jerusalem.The following day of our biblical travel tour  is without a planned schedule. We might organize a special return visit to sites that impressed us. Some can make their way into the iconic quarters for shopping and discovery. We can spend time in the desert, overlooking the Wadi Qelt and the ancient Jericho Road of the Good Samaritan. If we head that direction, we could stop and overlook St. George’s Monastery for closing worship, Eucharist, prayer and reflection. This Judean Wilderness where Jesus was tempted is a special place of vast and stark beauty. On our way down to Tel Aviv, we could have the opportunity to stop and walk in the Brook of Elijah and see the same stones used during David’s defeat of Goliath. Whatever we decide, at the end of the day, we’ll proceed to Jaffa for our closing dinner and return to Jerusalem for overnight and arrive back in the U.S.A. the following day.