DAY 01 Sat . Nov . 12
AUSTIN TO TEL AVIV
Depart Austin for overnight flight to Tel Aviv, with connection in Newark.
DAY 02 Sun . Nov . 13
ARRIVAL IN TEL AVIV · NETANYA
We arrive at Tel Aviv where we are met by our tour guide, Andre Shama and our bus driver. After passport control and baggage claim we will board our bus and drive along a scenic drive to Jaffa, the oldest port in the world. Jonah set sail from Jaffa for Tarshish but was swallowed by a whale. This is where King Solomon imported the cedars of Lebanon to build the Temple in Jerusalem. Jaffa was also the home of Tabitha, who was raised from the dead by Peter. We walk through the artist Quarter in the Old City of Jaffa and visit Simon the Tanner’s house where Peter had his vision of the unclean animals. We then drive through the modern city of Tel Aviv north to Netanya where we check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03 Mon . Nov . 14
CAESAREA MARITIME / TIBERIAS
We begin where the baptism of Gentiles began at Caesarea Maritime (Acts 10). We include the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. If time permits, we will drive along the Mediterranean to Akko and then we head inland to Mt. Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. From Mt. Carmel, we can see both the plain of Sharon and the Jezreel Valley. Then we are on to Tel Megiddo to learn about the background for Armageddon (Revelation 16). After Tel Megiddo, we proceed towards the hills where Nazareth, Sepphoris, and Cana are located. In Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown, we visit the Church of the Annunciation and St. Gabriel’s Church. We end the day at the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz where we will stay while in the region of Galilee for the next three nights.
DAY 04 Tue . Nov . 15
SEA OF GALILEE
At some time during this day, we will board a boat and go out on the Sea of Galilee. The Church of Multiplication commemorates the multiplication of loaves and fishes for the crowds following Jesus on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Church of St. Peter’s Primacy is located at the spot where Jesus made breakfast for his disciples after the resurrection. If weather permits, we may elect to walk from the area around Tabgha to the base of the Mt. of the Beatitudes and nearby Capernaum. At Capernaum, we will see Peter’s house and the impressive remains of a synagogue. Next, we visit the Bethsaida Archaeological Park has been under excavation since 1987. This ancient fishing village was home the Apostles Phillip, Simon and Andrew. Before returning to the kibbutz for overnight, we will visit Mt. Arbel which offers a spectacular view over the Sea of Galilee and a visit back in time to the caves that were one of the last Jewish strongholds during the last Jewish rebellion.
DAY 05 Wed . Nov . 16
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
We start the day with a visit to Dan where we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of ancient ruins, including the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (1 Kings 12). Nearby is the spring of Banias in Caesarea Philippi where pagan worship took place during the time of Christ. It is in this area that Peter confessed his recognition of Jesus as Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16). After a traditional lunch of St. Peter’s fish near the Sea of Galilee, we head to the baptismal site of Yardenit where the Jordan River exits the Sea of Galilee on its southward journey to the Dead Sea. After sharing this incredible experience, we head back to the kibbutz for our last night there.
DAY 06 Thu . Nov . 17
BEIT SHE’AN / SAMARIA / JERICHO
We leave Tiberias and travel south and visit the mound of Beth Shean, hearing the story of Saul and viewing the ruins of Roman Scythopolis. Then we drive through the Dotan Valley, where Joseph’s brothers threw him into a cistern, and pass Samaria, Ahab’s capital. At Nablus (Shechem), we visit the mound of the ancient city where Joshua renewed the covenant. We stop at nearby Jacob’s Well, site of Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman. We then drive through the lovely valley of Bidan and down Wadi Fariah. 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 look at St. George’s Monastery. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem. Our trip for the day ends at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem which will be our home base for the remainder of our visit.
DAY 07 Fri . Nov . 18
JERUSALEM / BETHLEHEM
We spend the morning visiting the Mount of Olives where we visit the Church of the Ascension, have a group photo taken at the overlook with the Old City in the background, and walk down the Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. In the afternoon, we head to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity and The Shepherd’s Field. We will have time for some shopping before returning to Jerusalem.
DAY 08 Sat . Nov . 19
QUMRAN / EIN GEDI / MASADA / DEAD SEA
We drive to Bethany the home of Martha and Lazarus. From there we drive through the Judean desert to Qumran. Here we view Cave #4, which contained the greatest quantity of Dead Sea scrolls. We continue south to Masada where we take the cable car to the top, visiting Herod’s mountain bunker and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-73 AD). After floating in the Dead Sea (at minus 1390 feet, as low as you’re ever likely to get), we enter the nature reserve of Ein Gedi, rich in flora and fauna, and walk to a lovely waterfall. Here we can also try to imagine a possible cave that brings to mind the biblical reference (1 Samuel 24:1-3), “Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of En Gedi.” We return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight
DAY 09 Sun . Nov . 20
OLD CITY / ISRAELI MUSEUM / YAD VASHEM
Deep in the heart of Jerusalem we tour the Western Wall Tunnel (also known as “the Rabbis Tunnel”) and see the Dome of the Rock Mosque, next to the Wailing Wall. Our walking tour in the Old City of Jerusalem will begin by the Lion’s Gate, at the Church of St. Anne, and the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the lame man. After lunch in the heart of the Old City and a brief shopping interlude, we drive to West Jerusalem to the Israeli Museum. We end our day at the Holocaust Museum - Yad Vashem after which we return back to our hotel for the night.
DAY 10 Mon . Nov . 21
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER / UPPER ROOM / STATIONS OF THE CROSS / DEPARTURE
We walk along the Via Dolorosa – “Sorrowful Road,” we see the stations connected with the crucifixion of Jesus including the Chapels of the Condemnation and the Flagellation. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre represents the final station where most archaeologists believe Jesus was crucified and entombed. We also visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu which is built at the site of the courtyard of the high priest Caiaphas where Peter denied Jesus three times. The church is a dungeon thought to be the cell where Jesus was detained for the night following his arrest. We end our day at the Garden Tomb where we will celebrate with a special service and communion. We return to our hotel for our farewell dinner at the hotel. Afterwards, we will drive to Ben Gurion for late check-in for our flight home.
DAY 11 Tue . Nov . 22
ARRIVE IN AUSTIN
Today we arrive back in the USA on our flight from Tel Aviv.