Witnessing the Holy Land
We will be met at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv and assisted through customs, introduced to our guide and driver, and travel to the West Lagoon Resort Hotel in Netanya for a delicious dinner and a well-deserved rest, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This morning, we begin our tour of biblical sites at Caesarea by the Sea, where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion (Acts 10). We will also explore Megiddo and Mt. Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Then we drive to Ein Harod, the spring where Gideon chose his 300. Afterwards, we will visit Tel Jezreel, the city of Ahab and Jezebel. The final site for the day is a stunning overlook from Mount Gilboa (Mount Shual), where King Saul died. After dinner we arrive late at the Scots Hotel in Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee for overnight. We begin our day at Capernaum, Jesus’ base for His ministry. Then we make our way to Chorazin, one of the cities Jesus cursed for not repenting. At the Mt. of Beatitudes, we’ll revisit the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Next, we’ll visit the Church of the Primacy of Peter, where Jesus called Peter and later restored him. Then, we see the newly discovered site of Magdala, and the synagogue where likely Jesus taught. We’ll experience the Ancient Boat Museum and conclude our day by taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. This morning, we begin at Bethsaida where Jesus healed a 1046blind man. Then, we drive north through the Huleh Valley and pass the Old Testament site of Hazor. At Tel Dan, we’ll see the altar of Jeroboam and the ancient gates of the city. After arriving at Caesarea Philippi, we’ll stand in the pagan Roman worship center and recall Peter’s profession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Then, we proceed to Mt. Arbel and see the Sea of Galilee from a one-of-a-kind perspective. We end the day overlooking of the Sea of Galilee at the Switzerland Forest. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Today we begin by heading south to Beit Shean, one of the best-preserved cities of the Decapolis and where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls after being defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31). We’ll drive to the top of Mount Gerizim and overlook ancient Shechem/Sychar, the site where Abraham, Jacob, Joshua, and Jesus came. Then we visit Old Testament Shiloh, where the Tabernacle stood for centuries and where the Prophet Samuel grew up. Next, we’ll overlook the cliffs of Michmash where Jonathan and his armor bearer faced the Philistines. Finally, we arrive in the Holy City of Jerusalem and proceed to the beautiful Inbal Hotel for dinner and overnight. After breakfast, we drive to the top of the Mount of Olives and walk down to the Dominus Flevit Church and consider why Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Then we will enjoy a private section of the Garden of Gethsemane and contemplate Jesus pleading in prayer with the Father. Next, we will visit the Israel Museum and its model of 1st-century Jerusalem—as well as key biblical finds in archaeology. Afterwards, we visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Finally, we will have a tour of the Western Wall Tunnel. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. We begin our journey today atop the Temple Mount, where Jesus taught and cleansed the Temple. From the temple area, we make our way past Lion’s Gate to sing in St. Anne’s Church, beside the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the lame man. We proceed along the traditional Via Dolorosa toward the most sacred of Christian sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—the location where Jesus died and rose again. We’ll walk on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount—the very steps that Jesus climbed. Afterwards, we proceed to the City of David and venture through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. (Bring a small flashlight or head lamp and water shoes to walk through the tunnel. Or you can stay dry and walk through the Canaanite Tunnel.) Time permitting, we will visit the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man. We end our day with a Communion service at the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Float on the Dead Sea
This morning we visit the hill of Nebi Samuel to see a spectacular overlook of the Central Benjamin Plateau. Then we drive to Beth Shemesh, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (1 Samuel 6). Next, we travel to the Elah Valley to see where David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Continuing south to the Guvrin Valley, we visit the Maresha Caves with hundreds of bell-shaped caves caused by ancient quarrying. This was the home of the prophet Micah (Micah 1). Then we head to a panoramic view of Bethlehem near Ramat Rachel. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. After breakfast, we drive down to the Jordan River and see the location where Jesus was baptized. We then travel south along the shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada where we ascend by cable car to King Herod’s amazing fortress. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. Next, we stop at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a short swim or float. We return to Jerusalem for our Farewell Dinner out and then to our hotel for overnight. We begin our day with the roosters at the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the traditional house of Caiaphas where Peter denied Christ. Next, we stop at modern Mount Zion and the site of the Upper Room where Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples. We’ll walk to the Jewish Quarter and see the ancient Cardo and Hezekiah’s Broad Wall. Afterwards, we’ll visit the foundations of Herod’s Palace at the Tower of David and take a walk on the Old City Walls Ramparts. Then we’ll enjoy some free time to shop and enjoy the Old City until we go to our dinner and last overnight at Inbal, Jerusalem.
Optional Jordan Extension
After breakfast, we will drive to the Allenby Bridge and cross into Jordan. We will start our sightseeing at the top of Mount Nebo, the vantage point where Moses got his first and only look at the Promised Land. Then, we’ll continue to Madaba and visit the church that houses a beautiful mosaic map of the Holy Land. We will stop at the Amman Citadel before driving to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight. Start your day floating in the Dead Sea before we journey to Machaerus, the site where John the Baptist was imprisoned, and ultimately, beheaded. We then drive to Petra for dinner and overnight at the Old Village Resort. You’ve never seen a place like Petra! Located in ancient Edom, this spectacular desert dwelling boasts rose-hewn sandstone, rugged hills, and monumental facades—all accessible through a twisting narrow gorge. We’ll even have a horse ride (included, but plan to tip the driver)! In the afternoon, we will drive to the Century Park Hotel in Amman for dinner and overnight. We will transfer to the Amman airport for our return flight home.