DAY 01 Wed . Mar . 30
DEPART UNITED STATES FOR ISRAEL
We begin our tour of a lifetime with a late morning departure from Cleveland. We connect in Newark with other travelers for our late afternoon flight to Tel Aviv airport via United Airlines.
DAY 02 Thu . Mar . 31
ARRIVE TEL AVIV/VALLEY OF ELAH/JOPPA
We arrive in Tel Aviv this morning. Upon arrival we clear passport control, meet our guide and transfer by private motor coach to the Valley of Elah where David defeated Goliath by the power of God (1 Samuel 17), then to modern Jaffa (and the ancient port of Joppa), time permitting, to be reminded of the commission of Peter and Jonah to preach to the Gentiles before we turn toward the Carlton Beach hotel in Tel Aviv on the shores of the Mediterranean for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03 Fri . Apr . 01
BEERSHEBA / WILDERNESS TABERNACLE / EILAT
We begin this day with a visit to Beersheba, where Abraham first made his home. We visit the ruins on the tel, the well dating to Abraham’s time that has survived until today, and even the cistern. Then we head into the Negev desert to visit the majestic Ramon Crater at Mitzpe Ramon. After lunch, we marvel at how Christ fulfilled the symbols in the sacrificial system described in Leviticus as we visit the Wilderness Tabernacle. Our day concludes with dinner and overnight on the Gulf of Aqaba at the beautiful Herod’s Palace Hotel.
DAY 04 Sat . Apr . 02
BORDER CROSSING / PETRA / BACK TO ISRAEL
In the early morning, we depart Eilat, cross the border, then drive to Petra, the ancient Edomite and Nabatean capital, and “Rose Red City half as old as time.” We’ll see the spectacular “city of the dead,” with its famed gorge, ancient streets, temples, dwelling places and tombs carved in solid rock. Our visit includes a two-mile walk through the famous Siq (the natural gorge) to arrive at the Treasury. We see 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. We return to Israel for late dinner and overnight in Eilat.
DAY 05 Sun . Apr . 03
EN GEDI / MASADA / DEAD SEA
We enjoy a relaxing departure from Eilat and head to Masada where we ride the cable car to enjoy the remains of Herod’s palaces, a synagogue, storehouses, siege ramp and a majestic view of the Dead Sea. A walk down the snake path might appeal to a few as we return via cable car and depart for En Gedi. Here we see the Ibex, the deer of Psalm 42, and reflect on David’s encounter with King Saul (1 Samuel 24), before we turn to the Dead Sea for a late arrival at Herod’s Dead Sea Hotel for dinner & overnight.
DAY 6 Mon . Apr . 04
QUMRAN / JERICHO / GAN HASHLOSHA / BEIT SHEAN / TIBERIAS
We begin the day at Qumran to discover the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then we head for the tel of Jericho – a favorite spot for archaeologists & the oldest excavated city in history. Jericho is also an excellent location to buy world-famous Hebron pottery. Following a stop for shopping and lunch, we enjoy an excellent view of the Mount of Temptation, then proceed north along the Jordan Valley for the incredible ruins of Beit Shean, featuring eighteen layers of civilization where Saul and his sons were nailed to the city wall (1 Samuel 31). We then depart for Gan Hashlosha, near Gideon’s Spring, which feeds the Jordan for our baptism in late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the U Boutique Hotel in Tiberias.
DAY 7 Tue . Apr . 05
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
Our day begins with a memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Our bus climbs into the Golan Heights where we arrive at the base of Mt. Hermon. Banias, the Caesarea Philippi of the Bible, is a main water source for the Jordan River. Here Peter made his great declaration about Jesus (Mk. 8:27ff). After lunch, we follow some of the stories in Mark 4-6 about the ministry of Jesus. Our stops include the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). We move on to Capernaum, our Lord’s hometown for two years (Matt.4:13), and marvel at multitudes that were attracted to the miracles performed by Jesus. We may include a brief stop to commemorate the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14). We conclude the afternoon with a stop at Magdala, a recently excavated 1st Century fishing village & home to Mary Magdalene. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 Wed . Apr . 06
NAZARETH / MEGIDDO / CARMEL RANGE / CAESAREA BY THE SEA / ISRAEL MUSEUM / YAD VASHEM
An early walk along the shore provides a spectacular memory of sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast, we head to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus to visit the Church of the Annunciation. Later this morning we stop at the tel of Megiddo, one of Joshua’s victories, which dates to 4,000 B.C. We drive through the Carmel mountain range, where Elijah fought the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:1-40). After lunch, we stop at Caesarea by the Sea, the majestic seaport built by King Herod. Then we ascend the hills of Judea to Jerusalem where we stop at the Israel Museum, housing the Model of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple. The museum also houses the Shrine of the Book, which depicts the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We turn our attention to Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust museum, which reminds us of the atrocities of World War II before we head to the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9 Thu . Apr . 07
TEMPLE MOUNT / TEMPLE TREASURES INSTITUTE / CITY OF DAVID /PILGRIM’S PATH / ROCKEFELLER ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK
An early wake-up call means we ascend the walkway to the Temple Mount and learn about the holy sites of Islam at the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. The history of this area includes Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22), Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 5 & 6), Herod’s temple, the visits of Jesus and Paul’s arrest. We arrive at the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a lame man recorded in John 5. We move on to the Temple Treasures Institute to view artifacts for building the next Temple and enjoy lunch on the streets of the Jewish Quarter, perhaps near the Cardo - the reconstructed main street of Roman Byzantine Jerusalem. Then we walk down the steps to visit the holiest site to Jews today called the Western or Wailing Wall where we see the massive foundation stones. We cross the street to observe recent archeological work at the City of David, then walk the Pilgrim’s Path, recently discovered as the passageway for Jewish faithful ascending from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount with sacrifices. We conclude the day with a visit to the Southern Steps where Jesus performed miracles and where the Church was born. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY 10 Fri . Apr . 08
BETHLEHEM / HERODIAN / EIN KAREM / MT. ZION
We start the day in Bethlehem at the Church of the Nativity and remember the moment when the Son of God took a human body and became one of us (Luke 2:1-7). We turn our attention to the Shepherds’ Fields and the Herodian and contemplate the contrast between the earthly riches of King Herod and the poverty of our Lord (Philippians 2:5-11). We enjoy shopping and lunch in Bethlehem, then move on to Ein Karem, the home of John the Baptist, before we conclude the day with visits to Mt. Zion, the House of Caiaphas, the Upper Room and the Tomb of King David. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 11 Sat . Apr . 09
GORDON’S CALVARY / MT. OF OLIVES / GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE / VIA DOLOROSA / CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
Our last day in Israel begins with a visit to Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb for communion and worship. We then drive to the top of the Mount of Olives. What a breathtaking view! With the city of Jerusalem spread out below, you will feel the Biblical stories come alive. We walk down the hillside to the Church of All Nations, “the Basilica of Agony,” adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane, a beautifully kept olive garden featuring trees nearly 2,000 years old. We return to the crowded streets of the Old City and follow the Via Dolorosa,” the Way of Sorrows,” to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We conclude the day with options like shopping, a visit to the Citadel, where Herod’s palace stood, or a walk along the rampart for a spectacular view of the Old City. A farewell dinner at the Ambassador Hotel awaits us before returning to Ben Gurion airport for the overnight flight back home.
DAY 12 Sun . Apr . 10
We arrive early this morning at the Newark airport and transfer to our domestic flights home filled with life-changing memories of our visit to the Holy Land.