DAY 01 Sat . Feb . 11
Today we depart Washington Dulles for our overnight flight to Tel Aviv, Israel, with a connection in Newark.
DAY 02 Sun . Feb . 12
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, from that observation point we will see Mount Tabor and the City of Nain and Esdraelon. On the way to Nazareth, we pass the ruins of Tel Megiddo (Armageddon, Revelation 16). In Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, we visit The Church of the Annunciation. We continue to our hotel located on The Sea of Galilee in Tiberias.
DAY 03 Mon . Feb . 13
UPPER GALILEE / THE JORDAN RIVER
After breakfast, 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 visit. We make our way to Dan where we combine a nature walk beside the upper Jordan River and visit ancient ruins. A short drive takes us to the spring of Caesarea Philippi (Banias). There we visit the stunning remains of a first century AD palace belonging to Agrippa II. Ascending the Golan Heights, we will have an impressive look towards the Nimrod fortress and Mt. Hermon and stop at an overlook for a glimpse of Damascus, 45 miles away. 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, from there we continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 04 Tue . Feb . 14
TIBERIAS / THE SEA OF GALILEE
After Breakfast we will have our first stop at Mount Arbel for a spectacular view towards the Sea of Galilee, then we will continue heading to visit the town of Sepphoris to have a look at the magnificent mosaics of this Greco Roman town. 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). Then on to Tabgha where Christians have long remembered the feeding of the multitude (Mark 6). We then drive through The Golan Heights towards the Church of Kursi and remember the miracle of the man possessed by a legion of demons, We’ll have a cruise on 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 Wed . Feb . 15
THE JORDAN RIVER/ BEIT SHE’AN / JERICHO
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 see 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. then we drive south toward Jericho. Along the way we visit a baptismal site, Qasr el-Yahud, 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. 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 Thu . Feb . 16
MOUNT OF OLIVES / GETHSEMANE / BETHLEHEM
Today we begin by making our way up The Mount of Olives with the Old City tilted toward us. On the Mount of Olives we will visit the Dome of the Ascension and the church of the Pater Noster, 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 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. Afterwards, we’ll shop in a local souvenir shop. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 07 Fri . Mar . 17
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 is back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 Sat . Feb . 18
SEBASTIA/ JACOB’S WELL/ 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. From the Temple Mount we will proceed to the Western Wall and the area of the Southern Steps to visit this archeological park. 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, and Mount Gerezim. We then return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9 Sun . Feb . 19
THE CITY OF DAVID AND THE OLD CITY
After breakfast we Check out of the hotel to begin our day at The City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Pools of Siloam, (this is the time for the group members who would like to experience the walk through this water tunnel). We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) back as far as The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We 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 non-stop flight home.
DAY 10 Mon . Feb . 20
TRAVEL BACK TO THE USA
We arrive back to Dulles early morning. At the close of an unforgettable tour, we take home wonderful memories of the Old & New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.