DAY 01 Thu . Feb . 09
DEPART THE USA
Today we depart for our overnight flight to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.
DAY 02 Fri . Feb . 10
We arrive in 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, in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, we visit The Church of the Annunciation. We continue to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03 Sat . Feb . 11
A DAY IN 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) and the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. We then spend time reflecting and worshiping 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 and visit the Ancient Boat at Ginosar. Our lunch stop includes the special St. Peter’s Fish (other menu options available as well). After lunch, we head to Gadara and Bethsaida (time permitting). We conclude our sightseeing with a visit to the new Magdala archaeological site, which is rich in cultural history for both Jews and Christians. Dinner and overnight are back in the Tiberias.
DAY 04 Sun . Feb . 12
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
After breakfast, we travel north to the Golan Heights for a beautiful view of the northern Israel’s landscape. Then we 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 alter 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 Philistines (1 Samuel 31:10-12). We then head back over the to our hotel on The Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
DAY 05 Mon . Feb . 13
JERICHO / JERUSALEM
Today we continue south to Jericho. We will drive to the traditional Baptismal site at Qasr El Yehud where John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ. As we continue, we stop and take a brief look at one of the three surviving fig sycamores in Jericho (Luke 19:1-8.). At Jericho, we visit the Tell of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Ascending the Roman road along Wadi Qilt, we stop for a view of St. George’s Monastery. From here we take a drive in to Bethlehem for some shopping before making our way to Jerusalem. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem and proceed to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 06 Tue . Feb . 14
QUMRAN / EIN, GEDI / MASADA / DEAD SEA
After breakfast, we drive to Qumran, the settlement of the Essenes. They were the first century sect who authored the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here, we head to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We then travel south along the western shore of the Dead Sea toward Masada where we ascend by cable car up to King Herod’s astonishing fortress. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot-on Earth) for a short swim or float before heading back to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 07 Wed . Feb . 15
JERUSALEM / BETHLEHEM
Today we enter Jerusalem and proceed to 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. From the temple area, we make our way to St. Stephen’s Gate to walk the Via Dolorosa- including St. Anne’s Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the pavement (where Jesus Stood while being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and the ancient Cardo. We continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and then a short walk to the original steps that Jesus climbed as he entered the Temple area. We then proceed to 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. Then we continue to the Church of the Agony (Church of All Nations) where tradition says Jesus prayed before his arrest. We finish off our sightseeing with a visit to Bethlehem as we pass by Rachel’s tomb on the outskirts and then we visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherds’ Field. We have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 8 Thu . Feb . 16
After breakfast, we visit the Shrine of the Book Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the fascinating 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time. Then we have a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Next, we drive to the City of David, and then we go on a short walk to Hezekiah’s Tunnel (conditions permitting). Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through Hezekiah’s shaft. If time permits, we will visit the newly excavated Pool of Siloam and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. We end our day in worship at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. This evening we have a special treat, walking through underground tunnels to see the remnants of the Temple Mount of Jesus’ day including hewn stones weighing over 400 tons.
DAY 9 Fri . Feb . 17
ELAH VALLEY / JAFFA / FAREWELL DINNER / DEPARTURE
In the morning, we have leisure time in Jerusalem and then we depart the city late morning for the Elah Valley to see the brook where David slew Goliath. From there, we continue our drive to Jaffa for a special Farewell Dinner. We then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A.
DAY 10 Sat . Feb . 18
Today we arrive in the USA and return to our cities of origin.