Explore the Galilee Area
We arrive in Tel Aviv where we are met by our guide who assists us through customs and security. We are then transferred to our motor coach for our drive to the Galilee. Dinner and overnight are in the Galilee area. A unique experience awaits us as we wake up next to the Sea of Galilee! As we begin our day’s journey, we visit the new excavation of the village of Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. We then go to the Mount of Beatitudes and walk down an ancient rock path to the Sea of Galilee, reading the Beatitudes during our walk. From here, we stop at the Heptapegon “Seven Springs” where Jesus fed the 5000 and the St. Peter’s Primacy Church, the site of Jesus’ breakfast in John 21. We also have the chance to walk on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. We journey to Capernaum and visit St. Peter’s house, the synagogue and more. We continue to Chorizim or Bethsaida, crossing the Jordan River on the way. Then we journey near the Golan area to the east side of the Sea of Galilee to Kursi and see the cave of the demoniac. We then visit the Ancient Boat at Ginosar. Our day ends with a Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee. We have dinner and overnight in Tiberias. After breakfast, we make a brief stop in the town of Nain, near where Jesus & Elijah raised a widow’s son from the dead. We visit Tel Megiddo, the ancient city used by Kings Solomon & Ahab, overlooking the Jezreel Valley. We continue to Caesarea Maritima to see the city, Pilate Stone and aqueduct. Then we go to Mt. Carmel where Elijah defeated the Prophets of Baal. We take time for devotions and to view of the Valley of Armageddon/Jezreel. We continue to Nazareth and visit the Church of the Annunciation. As time allows, we will either stop in or drive through Cana. We pass the Horns of Hitten on our way back to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Biblical Sites in the Wilderness of Judea
We begin the day with a stop at Herod Spring (Gideon’s battle, Judges 6) at Mount Gilboa. Then we visit Beit Shean, the site of Saul and his sons’ defeat by the Philistines and a well-preserved Roman Decapolis city. We drive through the Jordan River Valley to Jericho, and enjoy lunch (not included) at Green Valley Restaurant. While in Jericho, we have the option of visiting the Seeds of Hope Center, the only Protestant ministry in Jericho. Then we view the Biblical sites of Tel Jericho & the Mount of Temptation before traveling through the Wilderness of Judea as we go up to Jerusalem, stopping along the Wadi Kelt to view the “Valley of the Shadow of Death.” We begin our time in Jerusalem with the “Overlook” of the Old City from the Mount of Olives. If time allows, we will walk the Palm Sunday Road to the Church of Dominus Flevit prior to heading to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Our day begins with a unique visit to Masada, the fortress of King Herod, along the Dead Sea. We enjoy the cable car ride to the top for our tour! We stop for lunch (not included) at the Dead Sea and then enjoy beach access for wading or floating. Nearby, we explore the site of Ein Gedi. We walk to the waterfall and enjoy this oasis in the desert. Next, we visit Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We then return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we visit Augustia Victoria Church, a LWF ministry chapel in built in 1910. Those who wish to, may enjoy the spectacular view from the Church Tower. We drive to Bethlehem, and on the way, we can view the Herodian, King Herod’s palace and burial place, just east of Bethlehem. We stop at the Church of the Nativity, descending into the cave of Jesus’ birth. Then we journey east of the city to one of the caves in the Shepherds’ Field. We are hosted for lunch (not included) at one of the Christian owned restaurants in Bethlehem, and take time for shopping at their gift and souvenir shop. We return to Mount Zion in “Old Jerusalem” to visit the traditional site of the Upper Room followed by the Church of Agony at St. Peter Gallicantu, the Roman Steps and adjacent “overlook” of Jerusalem from the south.
Experience Biblical Sites in Jerusalem
We begin our day at the Garden of Gethsemane, with its ancient olive grove. We make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to visit St. Anne’s Crusader Church, the Pools of Bethesda, and the Sisters of Zion Convent (to see the Pavement where Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate). We begin the Via Dolorosa at the Ecce Homo Arch and end our “Way of Sorrows” at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. If time permits, we will include a visit to the Redeemer Lutheran Church and have the option of climbing the bell tower. We then visit the holiest site in the Jewish world, the Western (Wailing) Wall of Herod’s temple mount. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area bought by King David. On this site today is the Dome of the Rock (the third holiest Islam shrine) and the El-Aqsa Mosque. The next day we visit the model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of the city appeared in Jesus’ time) adjacent to the Shrine of the Book Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. We return to the Old City to take a remarkable tour of the Rabbinical Tunnel. It runs along the Western Wall at the level of the street in Jesus’ day. We have time in the afternoon to stroll or shop in the “Old City.” Our day concludes with a special visit to the Garden Tomb. We begin today with a relaxing breakfast. Then we visit Ancient Tel Shiloh, known as the religious capital of Israel during the time of the Judges, and spans 4,000 years of continuous settlement starting from the 18th century BC (Middle Bronze II). We enjoy a special Farewell Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. In the morning, those who are not continuing on with the Jordan extension will transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back home.
Optional Jordan Extension
This morning we depart Israel for Jordan via the Allenby Bridge, where we meet our agent and are assisted through security and customs. We board our motor coach to Madaba, the Moabite town of the Bible to see the Ancient Holy Land Map. Next, we travel to Machaerus (Mukawir). Perched on a 700-meter-high hill southwest of Madaba are the ruins of the fortress of Herod the Great. Machaerus is where John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas. We continue south to Petra, “the Red Rose City.” Dinner and overnight are in Petra. After breakfast, we visit Petra, a 2000-year-old Nabatean city. We’ll walk about a half-mile through the narrow passageway with cliffs on either side (called the “Siq”). At the end of the Siq appears Petra’s Treasury, a massive royal tomb carved out of the solid mountain rock. Time permitting, we will see Jabal Harun – the place where Aaron is buried. We then leave in the afternoon for Amman. The next morning we travel to Mt. Nebo to view the Holy Land from where Moses stood, a breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea to the Mt. of Olives and the roof tops of Jerusalem. We then return to the Allenby Bridge for our return to Israel. After our border formalities, we arrive back in Israel and continue with a visit to Jaffa. Then we have dinner and an evening transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A.