Experiencing the Land of the Bible
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to relax and enjoy the on-board service and entertainment, anticipating this exciting adventure of a lifetime. In Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion Airport, we proceed through customs and security and meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We travel to our hotel in Jerusalem where we check in and afterwards meet for dinner and lodge overnight. After breakfast, we visit the Israel Museum to see the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. We then visit the Shrine of the Book Museum where some of the Dead Sea scrolls are preserved, and the history of their discovery is displayed. Next, we drive to the City of David, and then we go on 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 the Canaanite tunnel. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam. Afterwards, we visit the Davidson Center Archaeological Park and the southern steps to the Temple Mount which were the original steps Jesus walked up as He entered the Temple area. Then we proceed to the Western Wall and will also explore its underground tunnels. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Visiting the Garden Tomb
We return today to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the famous, breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road – with a visit at the church known as Dominus Flevit (“The Lord wept”) – to the ancient olive grove at the Garden of Gethsemane. Then we continue to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. After proceeding through the Lion’s Gate, we visit St. Anne’s Crusader Church and the Pools of Bethesda. We continue to the lower level of the Sisters of Zion convent to the traditional location of “The Pavement” (where it is believed Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate). We then view the Ecce Homo arch. We follow the traditional Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We travel to the area north of the Damacus Gate to visit the Garden Tomb. Then we return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. We begin by visiting the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of the birth of Jesus. If available, we will also see St. Jerome’s cave. Then we will visit the Shepherd’s Field. Afterwards, there will be a time for shopping at a local store in Bethlehem. We travel to the Dead Sea for an optional swim or float, conditions permitting. Afterwards, we travel back to Jerusalem and, time permitting, stop at the Wadi Qelt overlook of the Judean wilderness. Then we arrive at our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Today we visit the Temple Mount (conditions permitting), a 35- acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18- 25). This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the El-Aqsa Mosque and the magnificent Dome of the Rock. Afterwards, we take time for visiting the sights at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, including the traditional locations of Golgotha and the empty tomb. Time permitting, we visit the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer (with an optional climb to the top of the tower to view the Old City) and to view underground excavations dating back to the 1st century AD. Time permitting, we explore and shop in the Old City. Afterwards we travel to the traditional Mt. Zion to visit the Upper Room, the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, and the House of Caiaphas, also viewing steps from the 1st century AD on which Jesus walked. Afterwards, we return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Witness the Sea of Galilee
Today we depart from Jerusalem and, conditions permitting, visit Bethany (the Biblical home of Martha and Mary) – the Church of St. Lazarus and Lazarus’ Tomb. We then travel to Qasr el-Yahud, by the Jordan River, the site near where, according to tradition, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. We will have a stop in Jericho and, time permitting, take a cable car to the traditional Mount of Temptation, site of the ancient Monastery of the Temptation. Time permitting, we visit Gideon Springs (The Spring of Harod – “fountain of trembling”).Then we travel to and arrive at our hotel in Tiberias – along the west shore of the Sea of Galilee – where we have dinner and lodge overnight. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today visiting the Mount of Beatitudes. Then we visit Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000) to see the Heptapegon (“Seven Springs”), the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter, and Church of the Multiplication. Afterwards, we head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. Then we go for a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards, we see the 1st century fishing boat (“Jesus Boat”) at Kibbutz Ginosaur. Then we travel to Magdala Archaeological Park (including a recently excavated 1st century synagogue) and the Duc In Altum retreat center. Time permitting, we travel around the perimeter of the Sea of Galilee observing the locations of ancient Gergesa (or Gadara, near modern Kursi), and Bethsaida. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias. This morning we depart the Galilee to visit Biblical sites at Megiddo (where Solomon’s stables were located) and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Afterwards, we head to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home) and will visit Nazareth Village to see what it would have looked like during the time of Jesus. We visit the Church of the Annunciation and, time permitting, the Mount of Precipice outside of Nazareth. Then we travel to Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle), touring the Franciscan Wedding Church. Time permitting and as arranged in advance, we will celebrate a marriage vows renewal ceremony for married couples at the St. John the Evangelist Chapel. Afterwards, we have a Farewell Dinner and overnight at our hotel in the Tel Aviv area, on the Mediterranean Coast. Those not taking the Greece extension tour will depart for Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for their departure flight back to the U.S.A. We arrive in the U.S.A. today. At the close of an unforgettable 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.
Optional 3-Day Greece Extension
This morning we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our short flight to Athens, Greece. After we pass through customs and security, we are met by our Greek representative and transferred to our motor coach for our sightseeing tour of Athens. Today will include a visit to the Acropolis – Parthenon and then a short walk to visit Mars Hill where Paul preached to the populace of Athens. After our visit, we will continue to the Plaka area for some free time to explore and shop in the picturesque Athens Square with its many shops, boutiques, and sidewalk restaurants. We will enjoy a typical Taverna Greek style dinner at our hotel and overnight Athens. After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing tour to Corinth, the city where Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla, the tentmakers, and where the Lord spoke to Paul by a vision saying, “For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18: 10). Here, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue believed in the Lord, and many Corinthians heard Paul, believed, and were baptized (Acts 18:8); thus, began the church at Corinth to whom Paul wrote two epistles. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Market Place, and Temples. Then we walk among the ruins and stand on the Bema where Paul stood before Gallio facing charges brought by the Jews. Then we return to Athens for dinner and overnight. This morning we transfer to Athens Airport for our return flight home. We arrive back in the U.S.A. the same day.