Explore Israel, The Holy Land
In Tel Aviv, we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security. We transfer to our motor coach for a short drive to the hotel 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 Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Then we continue to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home) and Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle – John 2). We will visit the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, and the 1st Century Synagogue. Dinner and overnight are in Nazareth. After breakfast, we visit the national park of Seppori to see the mosaic floor called “The Mona Lisa of the Galilee” and the impressive water cistern. Then we make a stop at the Mt. of Precipice, before making our way to Gideon Springs and Mt. Tabor. Dinner and overnight are in Nazareth. After breakfast, we travel to the Galilee and begin sightseeing with a beautiful ride on the Sea of Galilee aboard a replica boat from Jesus’ time. We then head to the Mt. of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) with time for reflection and worship. We visit a likely spot where Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. We make our way to Capernaum (Jesus’ base during his early ministry). Next, we enjoy a St. Peter Fish lunch (included) on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In the evening, we’ll travel to Tur’an to worship with local believers and share an authentic meal provided by the church. Dinner and overnight are in Tiberias.
Exploring the Galilee Regions
After breakfast, we travel north for the Golan Heights and view the area from a special lookout. Afterwards we visit an ancient, excavated synagogue in the village of Katzrin. We drive to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made the good confession of Christ as “the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We then drive to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. On our way back we will visit Magdala. Dinner and overnight are in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel south to Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. In Beit Shean, the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls (1 Samuel 31:10-12) after they were defeated by the Philistines. We will have an opportunity to see the Samaritan temple ruins in Garizim and likely interact with some of only 700 surviving Samaritans. We continue to Kaser el Yahud, the most likely place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew3:13-17). Only recently opened by the Israeli government, there are facilities there for those wishing to be baptized in the Jordan River. We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to Jericho, before ascending 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). After breakfast, we drive to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as Essenes, writers, and protectors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here we make our way to following the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea. We visit Masada, ascending the wilderness mountain by cable car to the majestic fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples, and palaces. We then make our way to the oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We will make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a special swim/float. The road from the Dead Sea area to Jerusalem is an ascent of 4,000 feet in just 13 miles. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem.
Prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane
We begin the day 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 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 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, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate) and Ecce Homo Arch. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 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). We conclude our sightseeing today with a visit to Herodium to view Herod’s fortress and look-out at the spectacular landscape and incredible view of Bethlehem. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we will again get a chance to view the Western Wall as we make a visit to the Rabbis’ Tunnel. A short walk takes us to the recently excavated City of David archaeological site, and then on to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (Shaft). We continue to the Israel Museum to view the Shrine of the Book and the Model of Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing with a visit to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb for worship and communion. Then we will drive to Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. We board our bus and say good-bye to Jerusalem as we drive via the Elah Valley, where David defeated Goliath, and make our way to Jaffa in time for our farewell dinner. After dinner, we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our evening flight back to the U.S.A. We arrive back to the U.S.A. at the close of an unforgettable tour. We return home with wonderful memories of Old and New Testament events, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life and ministry of our Lord.