Tour and Travel through Israel
In Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security and meet our guide who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in the Netanya area in time for our special welcome dinner and overnight. This morning, we depart for the Galilee to visit Biblical sites at Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion. We also see Megiddo and Mt. Carmel. Time permitting, we’ll stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). We continue to Nazareth and Cana. We drive to Nazareth to visit the “Nazareth Village” with detailed explanation of what life was like during the time of Jesus. We’ll arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. There is nothing like watching a sunrise on the Sea of Galilee from our hotel. After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then we will head to Caesarea Philippi. We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam. Our lunch stop includes the option of the special St. Peter’s Fish for those interested (not included). Afterwards, we make our way to the Mt. of Beatitudes, with time for reflection and worship. Then we visit Capernaum. Next, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to the new Magdala archaeological site, which is rich in cultural history for both Jews and Christians. Afterwards, we see Gadara, followed by dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
Worship at the Mt. of Olives
We begin our sightseeing with a drive to Bethsaida, and then make our way to the Jordan River and have the opportunity to step into that special river before heading to Gideon Springs. Next, we visit Beit 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. Finally, we ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing as we drive to the Wilderness. The road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea region is a decent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. Our first stop will be at Masada, where we take a cable car up to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, the synagogue, temples and palaces. Next, we drive to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. A short drive takes us to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Afterwards, we follow the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea where we will stop for a short swim. Time and conditions permitting, we’ll include a short visit to Jericho. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We begin the day with worship on the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage will proceed down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, and the Church of Agony, where tradition holds that Jesus prayed. We will walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Western Wall of Herod’s temple. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David. On this site now stands El-Aksa Mosque, and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. We make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate, to walk the Via Dolorosa, including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Pavement, Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A short walk takes us to stand on the original steps that Jesus walked on as he entered the Temple area. We will have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. If time permits, we will visit Solomon’s Quarry or visit the Museum at the Notre Dame Jerusalem Center, which hosts the Shrouds Exhibition.
Communion at the Garden Tomb
This morning, we visit the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. Next, we drive to the City of David, an incredible archaeological find. Afterwards, we take a short walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). 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. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam. Next, we see the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We end our day with worship and communion at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We begin our day with a visit to Bethlehem and a visit with Pastor Mitri Rabeb at Christmas Lutheran Church to learn about their ministry (provided he is in country during the time of our visit). We pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts, and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. Then we drive to Herodium. This “palace-fortress” built by King Herod is located on the edge of the Judean Desert, where he would be eventually buried. Afterwards, we will visit Bethany (conditions permitting). Then we depart for the Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. From here, we continue our drive to Jaffa for a special Farewell Dinner. We then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.