Israel Familiarization Tour
We begin our Jordan and Israel familiarization tour in Amman, Jordan. In Amman, we proceed through customs and security and meet our local guide who assists us to our motor coach. We leave the airport and make our way to the first site we see in the Hashmi Kingdom of Jordan: Jerash. Jerash (Gerasa as mentioned in the Old Testament) is often referred to as the Pompeii of the Middle East. Jerash is one of the best–preserved cities of the Roman Decapolis. The high point of Gerasa was in the 2nd century, when it had a population of 20,000–25,000. Most of the ruins are from the Roman and Byzantine periods. The city was rediscovered in 1806 by Seetzen, and restoration of the ruins began in 1925. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Petra. Today on our Israel Familiarization tour, we visit the world–famous Petra ruins where we will walk through the narrow canyon and see its great monuments, such as: the Treasury, the Roman Theater, and the Royal Tombs. We proceed to the Wadi Rum, a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south Jordan which is the largest wadi in the country. It has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. As of 2007, several Bedouin tribes have inhabited the Rum and the surrounding area. We stay at a Camp at Wadi Rum where we have our dinner and overnight before going to Israel. Following breakfast, we leave Wadi Rum and drive to the southern border to cross into Israel. We are greeted by our Israeli guide and bus, and we drive north through the Aravah (Rift Valley) to Timnah. In ancient days, this was a copper mine of the Egyptians. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in the Dead Sea area on our Israel Familiarization tour. If conditions permit, we will be able to float in the Dead Sea. After breakfast, we visit Masada, ascending the wilderness mountain by cable car to the mesa fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and palaces. Then we drive to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as Essenes, writers and protectors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then we continue our sightseeing with a visit to Jericho and on to Kaser el–Yahud, the most likely place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3: 13–17). Only recently opened by the Israeli government, there are facilities there for those wishing to be baptized in the Jordan River. Dinner and overnight are in Nazareth.
The Sea of Galilee Region
Today we board a wooden “Jesus Boat” for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Then we travel north for the Golan Heights and view the area from a special lookout. We drive to Cana (John 2) where Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding reception, and we will attend evening church services with local believers in Turan or Eilaboun prior to dinner and overnight at our hotel in Nazareth. Today we will have visits to Banias and Tel Dan along with a walk up Mt. Arbel to overlook the Sea of Galilee. We will end the day of our Israel Familiarization tour worshiping with Believers in Cana before returning to our hotel in Nazareth for dinner and overnight.We begin the day with a visit at “Nazareth Village.” This Israel Familiarization tour will include a drive to Megiddo, and then we visit Mt. Carmel where Elijah prayed and God defeated 450 prophets of Baal with fire from heaven (1 Kings 18). Afterwards, we proceed to Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem.We begin the day on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, and the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed.
Did you know: This tour is specifically designed for Clergy to experience Israel and bring their own group back.
The Beauty of Jerusalem
Our Israel Familiarization Tour starts today in Jerusalem. 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, we’ll visit the Temple’s Southern Steps where Peter most likely preached on the first Day of Pentecost, then we visit 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). From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient street (Cardo). We continue on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on our Israel Familiarization tour. A short walk takes us to stand on the original steps where Jesus taught, and the place where the church was born on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. We start our day at the picturesque village of Ein Kerem– the place where John the Baptist was born. We drive to the Israel Museum which includes the Shrine of the Book Museum, a model of Jerusalem from time of Jesus, and a Christian tour of the archeological section. We proceed to Bethlehem where we walk the wall, visit Bethlehem Bible College, and visit the Church of Nativity– the birth place of Jesus Christ. In the afternoon on this Israel Familiarization Tour , we visit Herodium. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this is where Herod the Great was buried. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. In the morning, we have leisure time in Jerusalem. Then we meet together and drive to our special Farewell Dinner. Afterwards, we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A. We arrive back in the U.S.A. at the close of an unforgettable Israel Familiarization tour. We take home wonderful memories of the Old and New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.