Our spiritual pilgrimage begins as we depart the USA on an overnight flight to Tel Aviv. Tomorrow we will be walking where Jesus walked! Meals served in flight.
Welcome to Israel! After we de-plane and clear passport control, we will be welcomed to the Holy Land by a representative who will assist us with our luggage and introduce us to our guide. As we travel north on our way to our hotel in Tiberias, we will stop along the Mediterranean Sea to visit Caesarea, the capital of the Roman Province. We’ll see the Crusader’s Castle, Roman Theatre and the world famous aqueduct as well as view the harbour from where Paul was taken to Rome. Afterward we drive to Megiddo, one of Solomon’s chariot cities and place of the final battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16), and will be in awe of the view of the Valley of Armageddon. Then we continue on to Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-38) where Elijah called down the pillar of fire which consumed the bullock upon the altar in front of Baal’s prophets. Next we will check into our hotel, which is located on the Sea of Galilee. Relax, walk along the boardwalk and behold the beauty of the lake where Jesus performed miracles. Later, we will enjoy our first Israeli dinner experience together.
Begin this day, and each day, with a wonderful Israeli breakfast buffet. After breakfast we will experience a magnificent boat ride on the beautiful Sea of Galilee. Experience first-hand the same landscape that Jesus must have seen with his own eyes. Imagine Him walking on the water (John 6:18-20, Matthew 14:25-32) or talking with fishermen at the water’s edge (Matthew 4:18-20). Our boat will dock at Nof Ginosar and we will view a wooden boat which was recently discovered and dates back to the time of Jesus. Then, by motor coach, we will visit at Capernaum and see ruins of the ancient synagogue, perhaps one where Jesus himself taught (Mark 1:21). Here we will see ruins of the first church of St. Peter. Our next stop is for lunch at a Kibbutz at Ein Gev where we can reflect on the morning’s activities and enjoy “St. Peter’s fish”. Then we’ll experience the serenity of the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus ministered and preached the famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7, 8). We will end the day with a visit to the Primacy of Peter, where we will walk along the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee in the same area Jesus multiplied the fishes and loaves. We will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast and after we’ve watched the breath-taking sun rise over the Sea of Galilee from our hotel balcony, we will pass the Mt. of Transfiguration on our way to Cana. Jesus performed His first miracle in Cana and turned the water into wine at a wedding! (John 2:1-11) Married couples will have the opportunity to have their wedding vows renewed here. Next we will travel to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus (Matthew 2:23, Luke 4:16) and stop at Nazareth Village. Here we will step back in time and experience what life was like during the time of Jesus. We’ll end our day with a thrilling opportunity to experience baptism in the Jordan River, following the example of Jesus (Matthew 3:12-14).
Following breakfast, we will board our bus and drive to the Lavi Forest in the north where you will plant a tree. A tree that perhaps will shade our Lord upon His return. Then we will drive along the Jordan Valley to the largest archaeological site in Israel; the ancient ruins of Beit She ‘an, where Saul’s body was nailed to the city walls (1Samuel 31: 10-12). We will explore on foot many areas of this remarkable city. Then excitedly, we will board the bus, drive to Jerusalem and experience a triumphant entry into the Holy City! Before checking into our hotel we will make our way to stand atop the Mount of Olives (Mark 13:3, Luke 22:39, Acts 1:9-12) just as Jesus did, and enjoy the breath taking panoramic view of the old and new city of Jerusalem. We will walk past Dominus-Flevit on our Palm Sunday route to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive grove, where Jesus asked his disciples to watch with him one hour and pray (Matthew 26:35-37). Here at the Church of All Nations is the Rock of Agony (Luke 22:43-45). After checking into the hotel, we’ll enjoy our first dinner together in Jerusalem!
Following breakfast, we will take a walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem beginning at the newly discovered City of David and walking “the Pilgrims Path” toward the Temple Mount area. After a visit to see the Pools of Bethesda (John 5: 2-13) we will walk down the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross), pausing to reflect at several Stations of the Cross along the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will walk through the Jewish Quarter and the Jewish Cardo on our way to the holiest Jewish site in the world; the Western Wall. It will be a prayerful stop as we will have an opportunity to place a prayer note into a crack along the wall; a famous custom believing in its priority to be answered. We’ll return to the hotel for dinner and overnight
Today after another bountiful Israeli breakfast, we will stop briefly at Mt. Scopus for a fun group photo. Then we will travel to Mt. Zion where we will enter the Upper Room; revered as the place where Jesus celebrated His Last Supper (Mark 14:13, Luke 22:10, Acts 1:13) and the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:13, Acts 2:1). Afterward, we will stop at the house of the High Priest Caiaphas and visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu and reflect on Jesus’ last night on earth.
Today is a free day for us to explore Jerusalem on our own or we can choose to purchase an optional tour to visit Masada, the Dead Sea and the Qumran Caves. This tour is $80, includes lunch and is a must for first timers! If you choose the optional tour, you will ascend by cable car to the mountain fortress built by Herod, where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans. Then visit the lowest place on earth; the Dead Sea, where we will have an opportunity to float in the unsinkable body of water. On our way back to the hotel, we will see the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Whatever you choose today, we know you will be blessed!
After breakfast our first stop will be Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, then on to Emek Tzurim where the “Temple Mount Sifting Project” is underway. We will have a unique opportunity to uncover the glorious past of the Temple Mount as we sift through remains that originated in ancient buildings from the Temple Period. Finally, our tour ends as we visit the Garden Tomb and Golgotha. This will be an unforgettable experience as we see the tomb empty and celebrate Holy Communion together! Tonight we say goodbye to all the new friends you have made at a special farewell dinner. After dinner we will be transferred to the airport to meet our midnight flight home.