DAY 01 Tue . May . 17
DEPART THE USA
Today we depart for our overnight flight to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.
DAY 02 Wed . May . 18
After clearing customs, we will be met by our guide who will take us on a scenic drive through Jaffa, the oldest port in the world. Jonah set sail for Tarshish from Jaffa but was swallowed by a large fish. Jaffa was also the home of Tabitha, who was raised from the dead by Peter. Peter had his vision here while lodging in the home of Simon the Tanner. We then drive north through the city of Tel Aviv to Nethanya for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03 Thu . May . 19
THE SHARON PLAIN & GALILEE
We begin where the baptism of Gentiles began: at Caesarea Maritima (Focus on Acts 10). We include the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. Then we drive to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel, with a panorama of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon). (Focus on I Kings 18, the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.) Continue to Megiddo for the background to Ar-mageddon (Revelation 16). After surveying the Plain of Jezreel, we proceed to Nazareth, visiting part of the ancient village and enjoying a view of Mt. Tabor. We go on to Cana, commemorating Jesus’ transformation of water into wine. We end the day at the Arbel cliff, which affords a view over the Lake of Galilee and the main sites of Jesus’ ministry. We have dinner and overnight on the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 04 Fri . May . 20
A DAY ON THE SEA OF GALILEE
We drive along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, where we visit the synagogue and the place where early Christians remembered Peter’s house. We continue to Tabgha (short for Heptapagon, “seven springs”) to view the mosaics in the Church of the Loaves and Fishes. Ascending the Mt. of Beatitudes, we listen to Jesus’ teachings. On an ancient trade route, we pass Hazor and then go on to Dan. Here we do a nature walk and visit the high place where Jeroboam son of Nebat set up a golden calf. We continue to Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where Peter answered Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” Our route then takes us over the Golan Heights, skirting Mt. Hermon, with a view toward Damascus. We end the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
DAY 05 Sat . May . 21
THE LOWER GALILEE & THE JORDAN VALLEY
Today we visit three major sites: Beth Shean, Ein Harod and Jericho. We drive down into the Jordan Valley where we stop for a visit at the modern baptismal site at the point where the Jordan flows out of the lake. We then drive to the strategic crossing point between the Jordan Valley and the Jezreel which is located in the city of Beth Shean (aka Scythopolis). Here, we will climb the Tel to view the setting of Saul’s death (I Samuel 28 - II Samuel 1). We shall then survey the magnificent Roman and Byzantine ruins: theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas, colonnaded streets. We drive through the Jezreel Valley west to Ein Harod (Judges 7), which describes Gideon’s actions in thinning out his army. This is where he brought the men to the spring and sorted them on the basis of how they drank from the water. We then drive east into Harod’s Valley with a fantastic view filled with biblical history. From this location on Tel Jezreel looking east, one can yet imagine the crowned Jehu “driving like a madman,” on his way to killing the kings of Israel and Judah. Probably somewhere in this valley, Jesus healed the ten lepers 900 years later. We continue east back to the Jordan Valley and then south to Jericho. At Jericho, we visit the Tel of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Ascending the Roman road along Wadi Qilt, we stop for a look at St. George’s Monastery. Finally atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem where we will have dinner and overnight.
DAY 06 Sun . May . 22
MT. OF OLIVES / GETHSEMANE / BETHLEHEM
Today we begin by making our way to 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 Gethsemane (Matthew 26) with a visit to the garden and The Church of All Nations. We drive to The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The church stands over the place where Jesus was kept just prior to His crucifixion. We drive toward Bethlehem passing Solomon’s Pools, Jerusalem’s main source of water for almost 2,000 years. We visit The Shepherds’ Field, then walk-through Bethlehem making our way through its alleys and markets to The Church of the Nativity. We travel back to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 07 Mon . May . 23
THE OLD CITY AND THE ANCIENT COUNTRYSIDE
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 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! Then we travel to Samaria and enjoy a picturesque drive. We make a stop at 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 visit a Greek Orthodox church in the town of ancient Shechem (now Nablus). This modern-day church is built over Jacob’s Well. Then it’s back to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 Tue . May . 24
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 stop in Ein Gedi and climb a mountain path to the waterfall where David may have hidden when he was running from Saul. We make our way to Qumran where a Bedouin shepherd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948. Afterward, those who wish may enjoy a “float” in the Dead Sea! Then it’s back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9 Wed . May . 25
JERUSALEM / THE OLD CITY
We begin our day by ascending to The Temple Mount. There we view The Dome of the Rock and The AlAqsa 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 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 special visit and 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 Thu . May . 26
Today we arrive in the USA and return to our cities of origin.