DAY 01 Tue . May . 24
DEPART LITTLE ROCK
Depart Little Rock for overnight flight to Tel Aviv, with connections Charlotte and New York.
DAY 02 Wed . May . 25
ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV/ NETANYA
We arrive at Tel Aviv late afternoon where we are met by our tour guide and our bus driver. After passport control and baggage claim we will board our bus and drive along a scenic drive through the modern city of Tel Aviv north to Netanya where we check in for dinner and overnight at our hotel overlooking the Mediterranean.
DAY 03 Thu . May . 26
CAESAREA MARITIME / MOUNT CARMEL / JEZREEL VALLEY / NAZARETH / CANA / 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 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 our hotel overlooking the Sea of Galilee for the next three nights.
DAY 04 Fri . May . 27
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
At some time during this day, we will board a boat and go out on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ ministry centered on the area around the Sea of Galilee, so we will be spending a couple of days in this region. 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. We will end our day by driving up to Mt. Arbel for a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee and the main sites of Jesus’ ministry and most of his healing miracles occurred in that region. Drive back down to our hotel at the shores of the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight.
DAY 05 Sat . May . 28
MT. HERMON/CAESAREA PHILIPPI / BAPTISM
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 our hotel for our last night there.
DAY 06 Sun . May . 29
BEIT SHE’AN / SAMARIA / JERICHO / JERUSALEM
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, the pass-through which Jacob (and probably his grandfather before him) entered the promised land. Along the way we visit a baptismal site on The Jordan River where John the Baptist most likely baptized Jesus, Bethabara. 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 Mon . May . 30
WESTERN WALL /TEMPLE MOUNT/ ISRAELI MUSEUM / YAD VASHEM
First thing this morning, we transfer to Dung Gate. We walk inside the gate and take the time to examine the ruins near the south side of the Temple complex, which includes steps where you may be certain that Jesus taught, and He and his disciples walked. We walk up to the Western Wall Judaism holiest site and view the Dome of the Rock the masterpiece of Islamic art. We then enter the Western Wall Tunnel that enables us to examine the length of the outer Herodian Temple wall. Spend some time walking around the Jewish Quarter.We exit Jerusalem by Dung Gate and continue walking along the path to the City of David. The tour starts with a 10 minute 3-D movie. It gives a visual timeline of the geography of the City of David from the original settlement to present day. As part of the tour, you can do the 40-minute walk in knee-high water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. . We then motor to West Jerusalem passing by the Knesset to the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Israel Museum, including the outdoor model of Jerusalem as the city may have looked in 66 AD. We end our day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. We drive back to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 Tue . May . 31
MT. OF OLIVES / 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 9 Wed . Jun . 01
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.” Return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10 Thu . Jun . 02
THE OLD CITY – CHRISTIAN JERUSALEM / AIRPORT
This morning we transfer to the Lion’s Gate also known as St. Stephens Gate and we walk through the gate to the Church of St. Anne a Byzantine Basilica and possesses amazing acoustics perfect for Gregorian chant, with sounds moving across the open space and up from the grotto. This makes the church a pilgrimage site for soloists and choirs. Also, in the same compound we view the two Pools of Bethesda built during the Roman period as a pagan shrine to either the Egyptian god Serapis or the Greek god Asclepius, both gods of healing and it is where Jesus healed the crippled person. We walk along the Via Delarosa the traditional Byzantine Way of the Cross to the church of the Holy Sepulchre. Then we walk through the Arab Souks and bazaars to Damascus Gate and walk to the Garden Tomb where the group can have a private visit to the Garden and to have the possibility of having communion on its grounds. The rest of the afternoon is free for personal interest. We get together for our farewell dinner before we transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our late flight back home.
DAY 11 Fri . Jun . 03
ARRIVE BACK IN THE USA
Today we arrive back in the USA on our flight from Tel Aviv and continue with our connections back to Little Rock.