Experience Communion and Worship at the Mt. of Beatitudes
Our journey begins when we depart the USA for Tel Aviv, Israel. Welcome to Israel! In Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security to meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We start our time together touring Jaffa, the port town where Jonah took his fateful journey in the belly of a whale. We will also visit Caesarea Maritima, the port city of Herod the Great, where Paul was imprisoned before being taken to Rome for trial. We explore the extensive ruins including the aqueduct, amphitheatre, and more. We check into our nearby Netanya hotel for dinner and overnight. Today we travel from the Mediterranean to Megiddo, overlooking the Valley of Armageddon, where the layers of 20 ancient cities lie atop one another. Next is Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal. Then, we continue to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home) and the Mt. of Precipice. We’ll also visit the excavations at Sepphoris. We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then we head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam. We’ll also visit at Magdala, the hometown of Mary Magdalene, where we will see a synagogue from the time of Jesus. Next is Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5,000), and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then share in a time of communion & worship at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias. Set sail this morning across the Sea of Galilee for a special time of worship on the water! We then travel south to 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 (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Next, we stop at Gideon’s Spring, then continue to the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath with a sling and a stone. We then make our way up to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we travel south to Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing mountaintop fortress. From here, we head to the oasis at Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We continue north to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. We make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short float in the salt and mineral-laden waters. Time permitting, we’ll include a visit to Qasr El-Yehud, the newly excavated Jordan River site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. We return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Visit the Pool of Siloam
This morning, we start our day at the Haas Promenade to take in a remarkable view of the Old City and to orient us to Jerusalem. Next, we take time to honor the lives lost in the holocaust at the Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. We’ll pray alongside the Jewish faithful at the Western Wall, and take a step back in time and underground in the Western Wall Tunnels. We’ll also explore the Southern Wall Excavations including some of the steps from the time of Jesus leading up to the Temple. After dinner, we’ll attend the Tower of David Night Spectacular – an open-air sound a light show that will take us on a breathtaking journey through thousands of years of Jerusalem’s history. We start early this morning with a visit to the Temple Mount (conditions permitting) where the Temple once stood, and the Dome of the Rock & the Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands. From the Temple area 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 (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the ancient Cardo. Next, we drive to the City of David, and then we go on a short walk to 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. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. This morning we travel north through Samaria to Mt. Gerizim to view Jacob’s Well. We will also visit Shiloh, where the Tabernacle once stood. Here we see impressive archaeological ruins dating to the days of Samuel. We return to Jerusalem and stand on the Mt. of Olives. From here we walk the Palm Sunday Road to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We’ll visit the ancient olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane. Later we gather for a time of worship and communion at the Garden Tomb as we reflect on the agony of the crucifixion, and celebrate the glory of the resurrection! For dinner we have the privilege of experiencing a Shabbat dinner at the home of a Jewish host family in the heart of Jerusalem to share a meal and learn about their faith & traditions. We start the morning at the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scroll display in the Shrine of the Book, and a remarkable scale model of 1st century Jerusalem. Then, we visit Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. We will tour Bethlehem Bible College, see the Shepherds’ Field & the Church of the Nativity. Time permitting, we will also visit the Herodion fortress. We return to Jerusalem for our farewell dinner and to prepare for the journey home. This morning we will celebrate Lord’s Day communion at the hotel before we begin our journey home. We transfer to the Tel Aviv airport & fly back to the USA with a transformed faith and memories to last a lifetime!
Optional Extension to Jordan
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 for Mt. Nebo where Moses looked out over the Promised Land. 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 for dinner and overnight. At one of the stops, we will celebrate Lord’s Day communion. Explore the rose-red city of Petra! Walk the Siq to the iconic Treasury building (which you may recognize from Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade) then continue on through the 2,000 year old Nabatean site to explore the many ruins and caves of this ancient city. Dinner & overnight in Petra. Today we will explore Wadi Rum by jeep ride! We’ll drive over and among the dunes of this stunning desertscape. Next, we will visit the Crusader Castle of Karak before continuing on to Amman for dinner and overnight. This morning we tour the ruins of Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world. We cross the border back into Israel, and will have some free time to explore the Old City of Jerusalem (time permitting). We enjoy a final dinner together, then transfer to Tel Aviv for the flight home. Return home today with a transformed faith & memories to last a lifetime!