DAY 01 Fri . Jan . 21
AUSTIN TO TEL AVIV
Depart Austin for overnight flight to Tel Aviv, with connection in Newark.
DAY 02 Sat . Jan . 22
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 Sun . Jan . 23
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 Mon . Jan . 24
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 Tue . Jan . 25
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 Wed . Jan . 26
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 Thu . Jan . 27
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 08 Fri . Jan . 28
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 09 Sat . Jan . 29
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER / UPPER ROOM / STATIONS OF THE CROSS / AIRPORT
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. Under 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.
DAY 10 Sun . Jan . 30
QUMRAN/ EIN GEDI / MASADA / DEAD SEA /DEPARTURE
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, 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, We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for our farewell dinner at the hotel. After spending the final day and farewell dinner with the group, the folks who are ending their tour head out to the airport while we remain in Jerusalem for one more night.
DAY 11 Mon . Jan . 31
BORDER CROSSING / BETHANY BEYOND JORDAN / MT. NEBO / MADABA / MACHAERUS / PETRA
Following breakfast we depart for the Jordan River and enter Jordan by way of Allenby Bridge. After completing border formalities we’ll meet our Jordanian guide and board our vehicle to cross into the Kingdom of Jordan. Our first stop will is “Bethany across the Jordan”, the site of John the Baptist’s settlement at Bethany beyond the Jordan. This is the place that has been long known from the Byzantine and medieval texts and the Bible as the place of Jesus’ baptism (John 1:28 and 10:40). The site has now been identified on the bank of the Jordan River and was systematically surveyed, excavated, restored, and prepared to receive pilgrims and visitors in early 2000. Next, we’ll view the Holy Land from Mt. Nebo, the traditional spot where Moses viewed the Promised Land. After you see the view and the Serpent of Moses (which is a monument on the top), we will walk to the church in Madaba that has been excavated and restored since 1933 by the Franciscans of Italy. You will see the beautiful mosaic floors dating from the 5th century AD. Mt. Nebo is also said to be the site of Moses’ death and burial. Next, we travel to Machaerus is a fortified hilltop palace. According to historian Flavius Josephus, it is the location of the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist. Our journey continues on the desert highway to the ancient red rock city of Petra, skillfully carved out of the sandstone mountains. An evening spent next to Petra gives us the opportunity to watch the sun set and rise over this magnificent city, dating back to the 4th century BC.
DAY 12 Tue . Feb . 01
PETRA / DEAD SEA
After breakfast we go into the unique city of Petra, the ancient Edomite and Nabatean capital, and “Rose Red City half as old as time.” We will see the spectacular "city of the dead," with its famed gorge, ancient streets, temples, dwelling places and tombs carved in solid rock. Our visit involves a two-mile walk that includes the famous Siq (the natural gorge) to arrive at the Treasury. We can see temple ruins of the Roman city, the Nabatean Judgement Hall, palace tombs, famous Urn Temple and the Roman Amphitheater. A climb of several hundred steps to the “high places” might appeal to the adventurous. Later this afternoon we will proceed towards the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight.
DAY 13 Wed . Feb . 02
DEAD SEA / AMMAN / FARWELL DINNER / AIRPORT / DEPARTURE
Enjoy a relaxing morning at your hotel on the Dead Sea prior to a noon check-out. Afterwards we make our way towards Amman for a city tour and nearby sites including the Citadel, the Old Souk and Jordan Museum. We will have a chance to freshen up at the hotel. This evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at Tawaheen Elhawa Restaurant in Amman before we drive to the airport for our late evening check in for our flight home.
DAY 14 Thu . Feb . 03
Today we arrive back in the USA on our flight from Amman.