Experiencing a Biblical Tour of Israel
In Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security and meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in the Netanya area in time for 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 (Acts 10). We also see Sepphoris and Tel Megiddo. Time permitting, we will stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). Then we continue on to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home) to visit Nazareth Village, and the Church of the Annunciation, Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle – John 2) and the Mt. of Precipice. We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today at Magdala, Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000), and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping at the Mt. of Beatitudes and then head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Afterwards, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” to set sail on the Sea of Galilee. For those interested, our lunch stop includes the option of ordering the special St. Peter’s Fish (not included). After lunch, we head to Gadara and Bethsaida before making our way to the Jordan River. While at Yardenit, we will have a Service of Remembrance of Baptism. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias.
Visit the Garden of Gethsemane
After breakfast, we travel to Mt. Tabor, the traditional site of the Transfiguration. Next, we head to Gideon Springs then 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 (1 Samuel 31:10-12). We finish off our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. Finally, we ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:1-2 NASB). We begin today 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. Then we continue on to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We enter Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and proceed to the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. Beyond the wall lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18-25), which is called the Temple Mount. This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the El-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. 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, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and then conclude our day with a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Float on the Dead Sea
After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We then travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea for a short swim or float. Dinner and overnight are again in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we make our way to the Western Wall for a visit to the Rabbi’s Tunnels. Next, we drive to the City of David, and we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We now take a short walk and have the chance to experience the Old City from above as we tour the ramparts. Next, we visit The Wohl Archaeological Museum. The museum is in the Jewish Quarter of the City and dates back to the 2nd Temple Period. We end our day in worship at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We leave the hotel mid-morning and drive to Yad Vashem to visit the Holocaust Memorial and then we depart the city early afternoon for the Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. From here, we continue our drive to Jaffa to walk through this coastal town, and we also visit St. Peter’s Church. We end our day in Jaffa with a special Farewell Dinner. We then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.