Tour and Travel through Israel
Tour members meet 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 guide who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in Netanya 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 Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Time permitting, we’ll stop at the Druze Village for a short lunch break (not included). Then, we continue to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home). Finally, we arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. Then, we will head to Caesarea Philippi where Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16). We embark on a short hike to Tel Dan to see the altar of Jeroboam before heading to Gideon Springs. Next, 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). Dinner and overnight are at our hotel near the Sea of Galilee.
Wooden Boat Rides on the Sea of Galilee
Nothing compares to watching the sun rise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today at Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5000). We then spend time reflecting and worshipping 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 (time permitting), before making our way to the Jordan River for a time of baptisms (optional). Our last stop of the day will be the newly excavated city of Magdala. 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. Afterwards, we proceed to the Israel Museum and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. Then, we proceed with our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then visit the Shepherds’ Field. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Exploring King Herod’s Fortress
We enter Jerusalem through the Dung 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. Then, we visit the Rabbinical Tunnels. From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to walk the Via Dolorosa – including Pools of Bethesda, the Pavement (where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We then conclude our day with a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. Next, we walk to the City of David where we will take 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 Hezekiah’s shaft. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. Today, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the first-century sect the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here, we head to Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul. Afterwards, we will climb via the Roman ramp to the national park of Masada to see King Herod’s astonishing fortress. We descend by cable-car, and we then make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim or float. Time and conditions permitting, we will include a short visit to Qasr El-Yahud, the newly excavated site where tradition holds that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and Jericho. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. We will start the day with communion at the Garden Tomb. Then we visit the rather new excavations of Shiloh. This is where the Tabernacle once stood. Here, we will see impressive archaeological ruins dating to the days of Samuel. Then, we drive to Beit Shemesh (in the Sorek Valley), where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (1 Sam. 6). On our way to Tel Aviv, we will have the opportunity to stop and walk in the Brook of Elijah to see the same stones used during David’s defeat of Goliath in the Elah Valley. We’ll proceed to our hotel in Tel Aviv for dinner and our last overnight. We transfer to the airport and arrive back 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.