Connect with Biblical Israel
When we arrive in Tel Aviv, we will be met by our agent who will assist us through customs and security. We will transfer to our motor coach where we will meet our tour guide and driver. Then, we will drive to the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. Today our first stop will be Nazareth (Luke 1 & 2), the hometown of Jesus. We will visit the Church of the Annunciation, then enjoy a first century walk through “Nazareth Village”. This will give us a feel for what the Galilee was like in Bible times. We will then proceed to the national park of Megiddo. We will proceed to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah prayed, and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven. We will then drive to the Biblical site of Caesarea, where Peter proclaimed the good news to the Roman centurion (Acts 10). We then return to the Sea of Galilee for Dinner and overnight. We will drive north to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confessed Jesus to be the “Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). There we will walk a nature trail along the Jordan River source. We will then head off to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. We return to the Sea of Galilee with a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), where we will have time for reflection and worship. We will make our way to Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. We will visit the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter (where Jesus restored Peter), and Capernaum (Jesus’ base for His early ministry). We will enjoy a boat ride on a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” and visit the actual first century “Jesus Boat.” Then we will return to our hotel on the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
Float on the Dead Sea
We will depart the Galilee area today and visit Beit She’an, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. It’s here where the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls (1 Samuel 31:10-12) after they were defeated by the Philistines. We’ll stop for lunch in Jericho (not included), the oldest city on earth. Afterwards, we will make our way up to the majestic city of Jerusalem. We will conclude our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem, where we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. We will then make our way to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Today we travel to Ein Gedi (where David hid from King Saul) and have a time of worship. Then we will drive to Masada, where we will ascend the wilderness mountain fortress via cable car. Then we will continue south along the western shore of the Dead Sea, where we will make our way to the Dead Sea Hotel for lunch (included) and a dip/float in the Dead Sea. Next, we will visit Qumran, possibly a settlement of the first-century Essenes and the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. We will begin the day on the beautiful Mt. of Olives where we will behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City and the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed for Jerusalem. We will proceed down the Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove.
We will enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel. 24:18-25). On this site now stands El-Aksa Mosque, and the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in Islam), which we will ascend to (if allowed). If permitted, we’ll walk the Rabbi’s Tunnel, a section of the ancient retaining wall of the Temple Mount platform that houses secrets behind its huge thousands-of-years-old stones. From the temple area, we will make our way to St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pool 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. A short walk will take us to the Southern Steps of the temple, where Jesus walked as he entered the temple area. We will start our day at the City of David. Those who want to can take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes if you want to walk through the tunnel. Then we travel to the church of St. Peter Gallicantu, where Jesus was likely held the night he was arrested and where Peter denied Jesus three times. Afterward we will visit Golgotha and the Garden Tomb for worship and communion. Our afternoon will be at leisure, so you can relax, explore the Old City on your own, or revisit the places of most interest. Then we will return to our hotel in Jerusalem for our last overnight and a Farewell dinner.