11-Day Israel/Holy Land Tour

Masada Israel
Church of All Nations
Sea Of Galilee

The Significance of Israel

Tour members meet at O’Hare Airport for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime. In Tel Aviv, we proceed through customs and security and meet our agent who assists us to our deluxe motor coach. We will drive through Tel Aviv and Jaffa and arrive at our hotel in Netanya in time for dinner and overnight. This morning we depart for the Valley of Jezreel to visit Biblical sites, first at Caesarea Maritima, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). We’ll drive up Mt. Carmel to see where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), and then head over the Megiddo to see King Solomon’s fortress. As we leave to cross the Valley of Jezreel we’ll talk about Armageddon. In Nazareth we’ll get to see the well where it is believed that the angel Gabriel met Mary, and we’ll also look out over the valley from the Nazareth overlook to see the scenes of famous battles from the time of the Judges. We then arrive at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight. Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! After the sun rises, we’ll take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, avoiding the stormy weather in the evenings that we read about in Scripture. We then visit the recently discovered 1st Century boat – amazing! Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, is our next stop, with its 1st Century synagogue and town still being excavated. Then it’s on to Capernaum, the ministry base of Jesus for 2 years and the home of five of Jesus’ disciples. A bus ride to the top of Mt. Arbel is the easy way to get up the mountain and stand where Jesus’ disciples stood as He gave them the Great Commission. That’s how Matthew’s gospel ends; John’s gospel ends at the beach called Tabgha, and so we’ll end our day there as well. Returning to our hotel for dinner on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Sailing the Sea of Galilee

We begin our day teaching and learning from the Sermon on the Mount along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then we cross the Jordan River and head to Bethsaida, birthplace of three of Jesus’ disciples. We’ll then go to a restored 3rd century Talmudic village to experience things as they looked in Jesus’ day and enjoy some more wonderful teaching. Then it’s onto the bus for a ride north to Caesarea Philippi, site of Peter’s famous confession of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Then it’s back to the Sea of Galilee to Kursi, the site where Jesus fed 5000 with just five loaves and two fish. Another dinner and evening await us on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast, we depart the Galilee for Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where, 3000 years ago, King Saul and his sons’ bodies were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Then we make our way to the Jordan River Baptism Site of Bet Abara. Afterwards, we continue to Jericho, where you will have an opportunity to purchase Hebron Glass. On the way from Jericho to Jerusalem, we still stop to see the Wadi Qelt, made famous in Jesus’ story of the man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. Today we travel to Bethlehem with a visit to the Church of the Nativity and then to the Shepherd’s Caves, singing O Little Town of Bethlehem…in Bethlehem! Afterwards, we have time for shopping at an olive wood shop. Next, we drive to the City of David and walk through the remains of David’s palace. At the bottom of the hill is the Gihon Spring, where Solomon was anointed king (I Kings 1). Then we go on a short walk through the 2700-year-old Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Anyone wanting to stay dry can walk through the dry Canaanite shaft. At the end of the Tunnel is the Pool of Siloam (John 9) and from there we can walk on the Pilgrimage Road (the road Jesus walked on many times going from the Pool up to the Temple Mount). Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. We begin today by driving south to Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. From here, we head to Ein Gedi (today a national park) where David hid from King Saul. Afterwards, we visit Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls, and perhaps have more of a connection to Jesus and the early church than we had formerly known. We then make a special stop at the Dead Sea for a short swim or float. Dinner and overnight are again in Jerusalem.

Reflections on the Southern Steps

Today we visit the Temple Mount (conditions permitting), before continuing to the Pool of Bethesda (John 5) and the Crusader Church of St. Anne. Then it’s onto our bus for a ride to the Israel Museum where we’ll get to see a 50:1 replica of the city of Jerusalem in 67 A.D., some of the original Dead Sea Scrolls, and many other ancient artifacts like the burial box of King Herod and the seat on which Jesus sat to teach in Chorazin. Then it’s back to the Old City of Jerusalem to see the location of the Last Supper. We head to the Western Wall to pray and, if we’re fortunate, we’ll get to watch Jewish boys being bar mitzvahed at the wall! It’s a party! To finish out the day we’ll head underground to the Rabbinical Tunnels along the Western Wall and then to the steps along the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, on which Jesus would have taught. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem. We begin our day at Herod’s Palace (the Citadel), imagining what it would have been like for Jesus to be put on trial here before Pilate. Then it’s the walk with Jesus out to the place of His crucifixion and burial (today inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher). Lunch is near the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and for those who wish, for a small fee you can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the Old City. We’ll head out the Jaffa Gate and take a bus ride to the top of the Mount of Olives. We’ll walk down the Palm Sunday road, stopping at Dominus Flevit (The Lord Wept) Church and consider all that Jesus saw as he wept over the city. The Garden of Gethsemane closes out our pilgrimage – there we’ll celebrate Holy Communion during our closing worship service. We will then go to our special Farewell Dinner in Abu Ghosh, a site that has significance in biblical times and also in modern times as well. Then it’s on to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight home. We arrive back in the U.S.A. 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.