Holy Land Tours Bring the Word to Life
We arrive in Tel Aviv and begin our Holy Land tours. Upon arriving at the hotel on the Mediterranean Sea, we will have a chance to swim in the ocean. The next morning after breakfast, we journey north along the coast to Caesarea, built nearly 2000 years ago by King Herod. We walk through the ancient theater, the Crusader city and the fantastic aqueduct that served as a back drop for the book of Acts. From here we depart to Mt. Carmel. Then we proceed to Megiddo. Across the Jezreel Valley is Sepporis, a large city in the days of Jesus. We will see the Cardo, the theater, and many mosaics, including the “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee. We end the day by driving to the precipice of Nazareth to read about Jesus’ ministry in this area. Driving through Cana, we finally arrive at the outskirts of Tiberias. We arrive at our “kibbutz-hotel” located right on the Sea of Galilee shoreline.
Travel North to the Golan Heights
We begin the following day by driving into the Golan Heights. First we stop at Gamla, a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s A.D. Close by is the site of Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We see what a typical village looked like during the days of Jesus. Next, our Holy Land tours take us to the base of Mt. Hermon. We should also see Mt. Hermon’s unique wild flowers in bloom as well. Next, we visit Caesarea Philippi. Nearby is the amazing nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan, one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet national park and impressive Old Testament city. We end the day by visiting Abel Beit Maacah. We begin the next day of our Holy Land tours by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. From here we drive to Magdala. Next is another New Testament city, Chorazim. We will visit the third-century synagogue here, built out of basaltic rock. Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Next, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy optional baptism in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We end the day by reading from Matthew 5 on the Mount of Beatitudes.
Fun Fact: Dr. DeLancey helped to excavate Abel Beit Maacah back in 2014.
Float in the Dead Sea
The following day begins by driving south to the Jordan Valley to the site of Beth Shean, an impressive Roman city of the Decapolis. Continuing south we make our next stop at Jericho. Here we see portions of the fortifying wall that supported the mud-brick walls that “came tumblin’ down.” Nearby is the Dead Sea where we have the opportunity to “float” in the unique body of water. On our way to Jerusalem, we make a brief stop overlooking the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Desert. We end the day in Jerusalem. The following day starts with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. Then we follow the traditional Palm Sunday Road to the church known as the Dominus Flevit. After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we meditate on the Gospel text. From here we enter the Old City where we first visit the Pools of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church. We then follow the Way of the Cross to the Holy Sepulcher. In the afternoon, we visit Herodium. We end the day visiting Bethlehem and stopping at Shepherds’ Field. Before we return to our hotel in Jerusalem, we walk the Promenade, for a great view of the Old City. We begin the next day at the Garden Tomb. Here we enjoy a Communion Service together. Next, we visit the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. We then sit at the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. From here, we walk to the southern temple excavations through a 1,300 foot Herodian drainage tunnel. We see the massive stones erected by King Herod, the “pinnacle” of the Temple, and sit on the very steps used by Jesus and His disciples.
Extend Your Stay in Israel
This first day of the optional extension begins by driving Shiloh. Here we will revisit the stories of Eli and Samuel and talk about the Tabernacle that once stood here. Driving back south, we spend the afternoon in the Wadi Qelt. The optional hike in the canyon takes us to St. George’s monastery, carved into the side of the canyon. The following day begins as we enter the Old City and walk 400 yards through the Western Wall Tunnel along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount itself. From here we visit the Jewish Quarter and see the Cardo. We also visit Shoreshim where we will hear Moshe, on Orthodox Jew, talk about his faith. Following some free time and lunch (not included), we drive out to West Jerusalem were we visit the Israel Museum and the spectacular Jerusalem Model of the 2nd Temple Period as well as Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial. We begin the next day by driving to Gezer. From here, we drive south to Beth Shemesh. Next, we travel to the Valley of Elah. In the afternoon, we visit Beit Guvrin to see the Maresha Caves with hundreds of bell shaped caves caused by ancient Roman quarrying. Continuing through the “Shephelah” it’s on to the city of Lachish that was conquered by the Assyrians. After breakfast the following morning, we visit Be’er Sheva with the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical 4-room Israelite house. From here, we drive further south through this southern desert to Ben Gurion’s tomb located at Sde Boker in the region of the Wilderness of Zin. From here, we drive further south through this southern desert to Machtesh Ramon, Israel’s Grand Canyon. Next, we head back north to the city of Arad. Nearby, we spend the night in the Judean desert. Following breakfast the final day of our Holy Land tours, we drive a short distance to the western side of Masada. Leaving the site, an option will be given to walk down the Snake Path and meet the bus at the bottom. We then drive north to Ein Gedi. From here we continue to drive north along the coast of the Dead Sea to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect, the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We end our Holy Land tours with a transfer to the airport for our flight home.