DAY 01 Thu . May . 06
DEPART THE USA / OVERNIGHT FLIGHT
Depart for an overnight international flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
DAY 02 Fri . May . 07
We arrive into Tel Aviv early morning and proceed through passport control where we are welcomed by our Wilcox World Travel representative. After claiming our bags, our representative will lead us to the airport exit to meet our guide, board our bus, and begin our tour of The Holy Land. We drive north to the coast of Sharon where the baptism of the Gentiles began at Caesarea Maritima (Acts 10). There we view the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre, and the Roman aqueduct. We then drive to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel with a panoramic view of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon--I Kings 18, the confrontation between Elijah and Jezebel with the prophets of Baal). On the way to Nazareth, we pass the ruins of Tel Megiddo (Armageddon, Revelation 16). In Nazareth, Jesus’ home town, we visit The Church of the Annunciation. We continue to our hotel located on The Sea of Galilee in Tiberias..
DAY 03 Sat . May . 08
TIBERIAS / UPPER GALILEE / THE JORDAN RIVER
After breakfast, we travel to Tabgha where Christians have long remembered the feeding of the multitude (Mark 6). Then, we drive north toward The Golan Heights and experience spectacular views of The Sea of Galilee. We stop at The Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) for a worship service. We then visit Tel Hazor, the largest Canaanite city of the Old Testament. We make our way to Dan where we combine a nature walk beside the upper Jordan River and visit ancient ruins, including the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). A short drive takes us to the spring of Caesarea Philippi (Banias) where Peter confessed his recognition of Jesus as Christ (Matthew 16). There we visit the stunning remains of a first century AD palace belonging to Agrippa II. We look toward Mt. Hermon and stop at an overlook for a glimpse of Damascus, 45 miles away. We then drive through The Golan Heights to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 04 Sun . May . 09
TIBERIAS / BEIT SHE’AN / THE SEA OF GALILEE
Today we drive south to Beit She’an, one of the cities of The Decapolis, and visit the site of this magnificent Greek and Roman community. Here we may choose to climb the tel and view the setting of the death of Saul (I Samuel 31). We survey the Roman and Byzantine ruins: the theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas, and colonnaded streets. After a St. Peter’s Fish lunch, we make our way to The Primacy of Peter, a church that is thought to be the place where Jesus prepared breakfast for His disciples (John 21). We visit Capernaum, where Franciscan archaeologists believe they have uncovered the house of Peter (Mark 1 and 2). Next, we visit the newly discovered and exciting archeological site of the fishing Village of Magdala where we can see a first century synagogue typical of the various synagogues that dotted the Galilee region and where Christ would have first preached the gospel. We’ll have the opportunity to see the “Jesus Boat” in the Yigal Alon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar, one of several communal farms in Israel. And at the end of the day, we cruise The Sea of Galilee in a wooden boat modeled after one from Jesus’ time (Matthew 14). We disembark within walking distance of our hotel.
DAY 05 Mon . May . 10
THE JORDAN RIVER / JERICHO / JERUSALEM
Today we drive south toward Jericho. Along the way we visit a baptismal site on The Jordan River where John the Baptist most likely baptized Jesus. As we enter the town of Jericho, we stop for a brief look at a sycamore tree (Luke 19:1-8.). We then visit the tel of this ancient, inhabited city. We view the mountain traditionally held as the mount of Jesus’ temptation. Ascending the old Roman road along Wadi Qilt, we stop at an overlook to view St. George’s monastery. From there we drive to Bethlehem for shopping. At the end of the day we make our way to the top of Mt. Scopus and behold majestic Jerusalem. We then proceed to our hotel to check in and overnight.
DAY 06 Tue . May . 11
BETHLEHEM /MOUNT OF OLIVES / GETHSEMANE
Today we begin by making our way up The Mount of Olives with the Old City tilted toward us. After some orientation, we descend the traditional Palm Sunday road to Dominus Flevit (“The Lord Weeps”) remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19). We continue down to The Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26) and to The Church of All Nations. We drive to The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. This church stands over the place where Jesus was kept just prior to His crucifixion. We drive toward Bethlehem to visit The Shepherds’ Field. We walk through Bethlehem making our way along its alleys and markets to The Church of the Nativity. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 07 Wed . May . 12
MASADA/ EIN GEDI/QUMRAN/THE DEAD SEA
After breakfast, we drive through Ein Gedi to visit the fortress Masada rising 1,200 feet above the desert plain. We see the restoration efforts of remains of buildings dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries AD. We then return to Ein Gedi and climb a mountain path to the waterfall where David may have hidden when he was running from Saul (1 Samuel 24). We make our way to Qumran, once home to a Hebrew sect known as the Essenes. Close by in a cave is where a Bedouin shepherd discovered The Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948. Afterwards, those who wish may enjoy a “float” in the Dead Sea! Then it’s back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 08 Thu . May . 13
JERUSALEM / THE ANCIENT COUNTRYSIDE
We begin our day by ascending to The Temple Mount. There we view The Dome of the Rock and The Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites of Islam. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We drive to The Shrine of The Book and view The Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient artifacts, and an outdoor model of Jerusalem as the city may have looked in 66 AD--built to scale! We then enjoy a spectacular, scenic drive to Samaria. There we visit Sebastia, believed by some to be the burial place of John the Baptist. Farmers in Sebastia are still uncovering Roman glass as they plow their fields. In Samaria we, also, visit a Greek Orthodox church in the town of ancient Shechem (now Nablus). This modern-day church is built over Jacob’s Well. We then return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 09 Fri . May . 14
THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM
After breakfast we begin our day at The Western Wall, Jerusalem’s holiest site. We walk through The Rabbinical Tunnel and examine two stone blocks each weighing about 600 tons. We visit the southern side of the Temple complex and examine ruins that include steps where we may be certain Jesus and the disciples walked. We follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) back as far as The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We then walk through the Arab souks and exit The Old City from The Damascus Gate. We make our way to the Garden Tomb where we conclude our day with a communion service. In the evening we enjoy a Middle Eastern farewell dinner at the hotel before driving to the airport for our flight home.
DAY 10 Sat . May . 15
Today we arrive into Newark and return to our cities of origin.