Day 1: Welcome to the Holy Land / Jerusalem
After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, you will be welcomed by our local English-speaking guide who will escort you throughout your stay in the Holy Land and make the scripture come alive as you follow in the footsteps of Jesus. We will then drive to your selected hotel in Jerusalem, your home for the next five nights, where you will enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Jerusalem
After a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to the summit of the Mount of Olives for a spectacular view of the “Golden City” of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. We will then visit the Church of Pater Noster and the Chapel of Ascension. Afterwards, we will proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent His last hours among the ancient olive grove, and the Church of All Nations, where tradition holds that He prayed on the night of His betrayal. Following this, we will drive through the Kedron Valley to see the Tombs of Absalom, Zacharia and James, and visit Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
We will then proceed to enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and walk to the holiest shrine of the Jewish people, the Western Wall (Wailing Wall) of Herod’s temple. On the Temple Mount we will see the Mosque of Omar, which is above the site of the scene of Abraham offering Isaac as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. From the Temple area, we will make our way to the Church of St. Anne and view the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the man who had been ill for 38 years. We will walk along the Via Dolorosa to Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of the Flagellation and the Arch of the Ecce Home (Behold the Man), where Jesus was tried before Pontius Pilate. We will then continue through the Old City bazaars to the traditional site of Jesus’s death and resurrection, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Later in the afternoon, we will enjoy a peaceful visit to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb for quiet reflection worship and communion before returning to our hotel.
Day 3: Bethlehem / Jerusalem
This morning we will travel to Bethlehem, birthplace of King David and Our Lord and see Rachel’s Tomb, one of the most sacred shrines in the Holy Land for Jews. We will also visit the Church of the Nativity, the grotto where Jesus was born, and the Field of Boaz and Ruth. Afterwards, we will return to Jerusalem and drive to Mount Zion and visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu on the site of Caiaphas’ House, the Room of the Last Supper, the Tomb of King David, as well as Ein Karem, known as the birthplace of John the Baptist. Following this we will return to our hotel.
Day 4: Jerusalem / Dead Sea Area
Today we will drive around the Walls of the Old City to Bethany, site of the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, where we will visit the Tomb of Lazarus. Our drive then takes us through the Judean Wilderness and along the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) to Masada. An exciting ascent by cable car takes us to this last stronghold of the Jewish zealots in their war against the Romans in 73 A.D. Here we will visit Herod’s many palaces, the excavations and fortifications. We will then continue to Qumran to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and see the ruins of the buildings of the Essene community. Following this, there will be a unique opportunity to float on the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea.
After lunch, we will drive to ancient Jericho, the oldest known city in the Western World, where we’ll stop by a sycamore tree and recall the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. From there we will head to the site of Old Testament Jericho (Tel es-Sultan), Elisha’s Spring, and see an Orthodox Monastery very near the site of Jesus’ Temptation in the desert. A drive through the winding mountain roads will take us back to Jerusalem.
Day 5: Jerusalem
This morning we will enter the restored Jewish Quarter and walk along the excavated Cardo, once the main street of ancient Jerusalem. We will tour the Herodian Mansions, a complex of villas from 2,000 years ago. Then we will proceed to the Israel Museum to see a scale model of Jerusalem as it was during the time of Jesus, as well as the Shrine of the Book, which houses an exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls. We will conclude the day with a visit to the Yad Vashem Memorial dedicated to the Jewish Holocaust. We will walk through this astounding and deeply moving museum and visit the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, inscribed with six million names.
Day 6: Jerusalem / Sea of Galilee /Tiberias
Today we leave Jerusalem and travel to Tiberias, driving through the Jordan Valley to Bet Shean, where we’ll explore the extraordinary excavations of an ancient Roman city. Our drive continues to the shores of the Sea of Galilee to visit the Baptismal Site at the River Jordan. We will visit a place specially prepared for those who wish to be baptized in the River Jordan. Afterwards, we will enjoy a scenic boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Kibbutz Nof Ginosar and see a perfectly intact 2,000-year-old boat recently uncovered on the seashore. Our drive will then take us to Capernaum, home of Our Lord during His ministry. After visiting the synagogue where He taught, we will proceed to Tabgha, site of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of the Primacy of Peter. We will conclude the day by driving up to the Mount of Beatitudes to visit the site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Day 7: Nazareth / Tiberias
After breakfast, we will head to Cana of Galilee, where Our Lord performed His first miracle – changing water into wine at the wedding feast. Here, couples will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows. We will then drive to Nazareth to visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and Mary’s Well. In the afternoon, we will travel through the Hula Valley and past Hazor, a Canaanite city rebuilt by King Solomon to command the Golan Heights. From here, we will ascend the Golan Heights and cross the Hatzbani River to Dan and Banias (ancient Caesarea Philippi) at the foot of Mount Hermon. Our descent will bring us to Kursi, where Jesus cast out evil spirits from a possessed man, before returning to our hotel.
Day 8: Haifa / Return to Airport
This morning we will leave for Tel Aviv and tour the sparkling port city of Haifa on the way. We will drive to the top of Mount Carmel, home of the Prophets Elijah and EIisha, for a scenic view of the city and port. We will then continue through the Jezreel Valley to Tel Megiddo, where 20 different cities lie superimposed upon each other. From here, we will travel along the Mediterranean coast to ancient Caesarea, the capital of the Roman Procurators, where we will see the Roman Theater, the Crusaders’ Moat, and the Byzantine churches. Our last stop will be Old Jaffa, where we will enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant, before proceeding to the airport in for your return flight home.