Galilee and Northern Israel
In Tel Aviv we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security and we transfer to our motor coach for a short drive to Jaffa, for a brief tour of the Old City. We spend the night in Tel Aviv and the next morning we depart for the Galilee. We visit Biblical sites along the way 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. We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight are near the Sea of Galilee. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We start the day at Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. For our included lunch, we have the option of ordering the special St. Peter’s Fish. We then visit the new excavations of the town of Magdala, where Jesus would have passed through many times, and the hometown of Mary Magdalene. Then we have a special visit to the 2000-year-old Jesus boat that dates back to the time of Christ. We end the day with a boat ride in a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” setting sail on the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight are again in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel north for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then we will head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”. We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam. Our next stop is Katzrin, a Talmudic village where we walk through a reconstructed house very similar to the type of dwellings from the days of Jesus. We then visit the Olive Oil Mill at Katzrin. We end the day at Gadara and return to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Jerusalem – the Holy City
In the morning, we depart from the Sea of Galilee and travel via the Jordan Valley to what is often referred to as the lowest spot on earth. Next, we visit Beth Shean, one of the best preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where King Saul and his sons’ bodies were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines. We drive via the Jordan valley and stop at the baptismal site of “Kaser El Yahud “. We will view Jericho from a distance and then we make our way up to Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We begin early the next day 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. Here we spend some time in the private garden. Then we visit the recently excavated City of David and take a walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. 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. After lunch near the Western Wall, we visit the Davidson Center and the Southern Steps, the actual steps that Jesus would have walked up to the Temple Mount. We end the day at the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the most holy place in Judaism. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
The Judean Wilderness
After breakfast, we begin with a drive to the Wilderness. The road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea region descends 4,000 feet in 13 miles. Our first stop is at Masada, traveling by cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples, and palaces. We then drive to Qumran, the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. Afterwards, a short drive takes us to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest physical spot on earth) for a short swim/float. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. Early this morning, we visit the church of St. Peter Gallicantu, the place where Peter denied the Lord three times. We enter the Old City through the Zion Gate and continue to the Temple Institute. Here, we will see some of the preparations being made for the Third Temple. In the afternoon, we have some free time to explore on our own in the Old City. We then visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. From here, we 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 end our day with worship and communion at the Garden Tomb, before our special Farewell Dinner and transfer to the airport for our flight home. Passengers taking the extension will overnight in Jerusalem.
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. Dinner and overnight are in Petra. After a relaxing breakfast we leave Petra and drive north for Mt. Nebo to view the Holy Land from where Moses stood (Deuteronomy 34:1). It is 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 Amman for dinner and evening transfer to Amman Airport for a late evening flight home.