Travel Abroad to the Holy Land
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 to meet our agent who assists us to our motor coach. We have a short drive to our hotel in the Tel Aviv area for dinner and overnight. Time permitting, we will visit Old Jaffa, the traditional home of Simon the Tanner and the port from which Jonah sailed. 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 (overlooking the Jezreel Valley and the site of the future Battle of Armageddon) and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Then, we continue to Nazareth (Jesus’ childhood home), Cana (location of Jesus’ first miracle – John 2). We then arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight near the Sea of Galilee. Nothing compares to watching the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin today reflecting and worshipping at the Mt. of Beatitudes. Then we head to Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His early ministry. We then visit Tabgha (the traditional site of the feeding of the 5,000) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. From there, we drive to Magdala to see another ancient synagogue that dates to the time of Christ. For those interested, our lunch stop includes the option to order the special St. Peter’s Fish (not included). After lunch, we visit the Ancient Boat Museum at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar to see a boat from the time of Jesus found in the Sea of Galilee in 1986. After that, we board a replica wooden “Jesus Boat” to set sail ourselves on the Sea of Galilee. Finally, we make our way to the Jordan River (Yardenit) for a baptismal service. Dinner and overnight are back in Tiberias.
Floating in the Dead Sea
After breakfast, we start the day with a visit to Mt. Arbel for a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee and the Plain of Gennesaret. We then travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of northern Israel’s landscape. We embark on a short hike through Tel Dan to visit the altar of Jeroboam. Then, we make our way to Caesarea Philippi to visit the temple to the god Pan called the Panaeon. It is also the place where Peter confessed to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16). After lunch at a quaint Druze café (not included), we finish the day visiting Gadara (where Jesus healed the demoniac) and Bethsaida (time permitting). Dinner and overnight are in Tiberias. After breakfast, we start the day at Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved Decapolis Roman cities. This is where King Saul and his son’s bodies hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). Afterwards, we drive south through the Jordan Valley and past Jericho on our way to the Dead Sea. Along the way, we scale Masada, ascending by cable car to the top to see King Herod’s mighty fortress. We then visit the Ahava Factory before we arrive at our evening destination for time to float in the renowned salt & mineral-laden waters of the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight are at our Dead Sea hotel. After breakfast, we depart the Dead Sea to visit Ein Gedi, a popular oasis where King David also hid from King Saul in the nearby caves. From there we continue to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes and the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. We then ascend to the majestic city of Jerusalem and land upon Mt. Scopus for a view of the Holy City. “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). This afternoon we visit Shepherd’s Field to remember the Christmas story from Luke 2. We then visit Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity – the oldest functioning church in the world! We check in to our Jerusalem hotel for dinner & overnight.
Viewing a Scale Model of Jerusalem
After breakfast, we begin the day visiting the Temple Mount (conditions permitting). The 35-acre temple area was purchased by King David (2 Samuel 24:18- 25) and is also the place where Abraham built an altar to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22). This area is the third holiest shrine in Islam, housing both the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the iconic Dome of the Rock. We visit the beautiful and perfectly acoustic Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda. We will pray alongside the Jewish faithful at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism. We also visit the Western Wall Tunnels to see the excavations that are taking place there. Later, we enjoy a magnificent view of the Old City from the Mt. of Olives followed by the “Palm Sunday Walk,” stopping off to visit Dominus Flevit Chapel and the Garden of Gethsemane. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. We begin the day traveling to the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath. On the way, we stop for a view of Philistine country from Bet Shemesh, telling the story of the Philistine’s returning the Ark of the Covenant to Israel. After picking up our own smooth stones like David, we stop off at Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park to see the famous caves and visit one of the cities fortified by King Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:8), the place where some believe King Herod was born. Back in Jerusalem, we visit the Israel Museum to see the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display, and the Model of Jerusalem as it was in the days of Jesus. After dinner, we’ll attend the Tower of David Night Spectacular – an open-air sound a light show that will take us on a breathtaking journey through thousands of years of Jerusalem’s history. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. We begin our final day of the tour in Jerusalem at St. Peter Gallicantu (The House of Caiaphas) and then make our way to the Southern Steps of the Temple, and then to the traditional site of the Upper Room. We enter the Old City through Stephen’s Gate (Lion’s Gate) through the Muslim Quarter, to walk along the Via Delarosa and experience Stations of the Cross, the Sisters of Zion with the Pavement where Jesus stood while being tried by Pilate, the Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher followed by some free time in the Old City. We finish the day with a visit to the Garden Tomb for a time of communion as we reflect on the agony of the cross, and the joy of the resurrection! Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. In the early morning we transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to 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.