A Life Changing Jerusalem Pilgrimage Trip
We arrive in Tel Aviv where we meet our agent who assists us through customs and security. We are then transferred to our motor coach and begin our drive to the Galilee area followed by dinner and overnight in Tiberias. Nothing compares to watching a sunrise in the Galilee from our hotel. We begin our sightseeing with a visit to the Mt. of Beatitudes (Matt. 5-7), with time for reflection and worship. From here, we make our way to Capernaum. We then board a replica wooden Jesus Boat for our boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We will stop for a special traditional St. Peter’s Fish lunch (not included). Afterwards, we see Gadara and the Jordan River. We have dinner and overnight in Tiberias. After breakfast, we travel north for the Golan Heights and view the area from a special lookout. From here, we continue our drive to Caesarea Philippi, where we will have time for devotions. Afterwards, we have a short hike/ walk to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. From here, we will include a visit to Gideon Springs. Time permitting, we will end our day’s sightseeing with a visit to Tel Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. Dinner and overnight will be in Tiberias. Today, we depart the Galilee, visiting the following Biblical sites: Cana (John 2), Zippori, Nazareth (Luke 1 & 2), and Mt. Carmel with time for devotions (1 Kings. 18). If time permits, we’ll stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). Afterwards, we make our way to Tel Megiddo and Caesarea Maritima (Acts 10). From here, we make our way up to majestic city of Jerusalem in time for dinner and overnight.
Float in the Dead Sea
After our breakfast, we begin our day of sightseeing with a visit to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. From here, we make our way to Qumran and the possible settlement of the first-century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Following the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea, we will stop and visit Masada, where we will ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of the cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Here, we survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and palaces. Time permitting, we will make a special stop at the Dead Sea (referred to as the lowest spot on the earth) for a short swim/float. Please be sure you bring with you good water/ closed end shoes, as the bottom surface can be rough on your feet. Afterwards, we make our way back to Jerusalem. The road from the Dead Sea area to Jerusalem is an ascent of 4,000 feet in 13 miles. If time and conditions permit, we’ll include a short visit to Jericho. Dinner and overnight will be in Jerusalem.
Visit the Church of the Nativity
We begin with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. Our pilgrimage proceeds down the Old Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove. There we will visit 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 lies the 35-acre temple area purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18-25). On this site now stands the magnificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El-Aksa Mosque. From the temple area, we make our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and then onto St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Sisters of Zion Convent (to see the Pavement where Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. Afterwards, a short walk takes us to the Southern Steps to stand on the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We conclude today with a short drive to Bethlehem. We will pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field. We will have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. After dinner, we head back to the Western Wall for a visit to the Rabbi’s Tunnel. After breakfast, we begin our sightseeing with a visit to the Shrine of the Book Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Then, we will see the fascinating model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Afterwards, we drive to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (or shaft, conditions permitting) for a visit. Please be sure to bring a flashlight and good water shoes with you, as you will get wet walking through the tunnel. From here, we make our way to the Church of Agony at St. Peter Gallicantu. Afterwards, we make our way to the Garden Tomb for a time of worship and communion. We conclude our day with dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. This morning is at leisure in Jerusalem. One option is to visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. We then depart Jerusalem and begin our sightseeing with a visit to the Elah Valley, where David slew Goliath. We then make our way to our special Farewell Dinner, before we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A. Those taking the extension will return to the hotel in Jerusalem for overnight.
Optional Jordan Extension
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 to Madaba, the Moabite town of the Bible to see the Ancient Holy Land Map. 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, “the Red Rose City.” Dinner and overnight are in Petra. After breakfast, we visit Petra, a 2000-year-old Nabatean city. We’ll walk about a half-mile through the narrow passageway with cliffs on either side (called the “Siq”). At the end of the Siq appears Petra’s Treasury, a massive royal tomb carved out of the solid mountain rock. Time permitting, we will see Jabal Harun – the place where Aaron is buried. We then leave in the afternoon for Amman. Dinner and overnight are in Amman. This morning, we travel to Mt. Nebo to view the Holy Land from where Moses stood (Deuteronomy 34:1), a breathtaking view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea to the Mt. of Olives and the roof tops of Jerusalem. We then return to the Allenby Bridge for our return to Israel. After our border formalities, we arrive back in Israel and continue with a visit to Jaffa. Then we have dinner and an evening transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight back to the U.S.A.