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The day has arrived and we depart MIA on an overnight journey to Israel.
Today we arrive in Israel at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Time permitting, we will drive by the ancient town of Jaffa where Peter had his vision on the roof top of the house of Simon the Tanner.
Overnight Tel Aviv area
Today we travel towards Caesarea Maritima (entrance included), where we will have a brief visit to the magnificent city with Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader ruins. Here we will elaborate on the story of the baptism of Cornelius, the first gentile convert to Christianity, and on the travels of Paul — those events that led Caesarea Maritima to become the springboard of Christianity to the West. We continue to Mount Carmel (entrance included) and consider the contest between the Prophet Elijah and the false prophets of Baal, discussing the reasons why the Prophet chose that place for the contest, and the lessons we learn from the story. We visit Tel Megiddo before travelling on to Nazareth where we will climb the Mount of Precipice, the brow of the hill on which the city was built. There we will reflect on the rejection of Jesus by his family and friends in Nazareth. We drive toward the Sea of Galilee, passing Cana of Galilee where Jesus preformed his first miracle.
Overnight Sea of Galilee
After a buffet breakfast, we begin the day sailing on the Sea of Galilee (included). We will then visit Capernaum (entrance included), Jesus’ Galilean ministry base. There we will see the house of Peter’s mother-in-law and the Synagogue, in addition to other ruins of the village. On to the Mount of Beatitudes, where we discuss the Sermon on the Mount. We will then visit the Primacy of Peter where Jesus appeared to the disciples for the third time after the resurrection. We drive to Magdala (entrance included) the hometown of Mary Magdalena with its synagogue and other town remains. For our last stop of the day we will travel to the northern boundary of Israel, visiting Mount Arbel (entrance Included) lookout, overlooking the ancient road from Nazareth to Galilee.
Overnight Sea of Galilee
We begin the day with a visit to Tel Dan (included), the northern extremity of Biblical Israel. We will visit the location of the altar where the golden calf was placed by King Jeroboam. There we will discuss the idolatry and downfall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. We will move on to the Dan Stream, the largest tributary of the Jordan River and possibly the place where Psalm 42 was written (“As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul pants for Thee…”). We continue to Caesarea Philippi (included), where we will visit the ruins of the pagan altars and consider the confession of Peter in Matthew 16 “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” We drive further north to the border with Syria where we will consider the dramatic conversion and life-transformation of Saul of Tarsus: The Apostle Paul. We visit Kursi. Our last stop will be to the Jordan River where you will get a chance to be baptized.
Overnight Sea of Galilee
We leave the area of Galilee, following the Jordan Valley Road to Beth Shean (entrance included), the capital of the Decapolis. There we will see the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine cities. We will also discuss the demise of King Saul and his sons, whose bodies were hanged on the walls of Beth Shean. We continue traveling south to Bet Arabah where John the Baptist was baptizing on the Jordan River. We visit the Tel of Jericho (entrance included) with its ancient ruins, pointing out what possibly could be the foundations of the ramparts that Joshua and the Israelites brought down. We drive by Qumran and then have time to float in the Dead Sea.
Overnight Dead Sea
We begin our day by visiting Masada (entrance and cable car included), the fortress built by King Herod the Great and made famous by the Zealots in 73/74 AD with the standoff against the Romans. We visit the fortress and see the ruins that are considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and then continue to Ein Gedi, the oasis in the desert where the meeting between David and King Saul took place and where many of the psalms were written by David. We proceed to Jerusalem, specifically to the Mount of Olives, pointing out important locations within the Old City, connecting them with Biblical stories and prophecies about the return of Jesus. We visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the night before his death.
This morning we travel to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. We begin with a visit to the Shepherds’ Field, where the angels appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of Our Lord. These fields are also the setting of the Book of Ruth. We travel to the Church of the Nativity and view the actual place where, according to ancient tradition, Our Lord was born. We take time for Olive Wood shopping before driving on to the Elah Valley (Nabi Samuel overlook and Tel Azekah) where the encounter between David and Goliath took place. We see the valley sandwiched between Soccoh and Azekah.
We will begin our day at Mt. Zion where we visit the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas (entrance included), and then the Upper Room, the traditional place of the Last Supper. Afterwards, we drive to the Genesis Land where we have lunch and a camel ride (included). We will end our day with a visit to the Western Wall and Rabbinical Tunnel (entrance included).
We start our day at the City of David (entrance included) visiting the Canaanite Tunnel and Pool of Siloam. We visit the Southern Wall excavations (entrance included) where ruins of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount are still visible. We will gather at the teaching steps, the main entrance to the Temple where Rabbis met and taught their disciples. In the afternoon we will have some free time to explore the Jewish Quarter.
Today we drive to Shiloh (entrance included) which includes audio-visual show and a museum of local discoveries. We visit Mt. Ebal and Gerzim (entrance included) before driving to Jacob’s well and ending the day at Sebastus. (Visit to Jacob’s Well and Sebastus pending the political situation at the time of travel).
After a buffet breakfast, we begin the Way of Cross, through the Jaffa Gate, to the Praetorium (according to Kathleen Kenyon), and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After lunch we go to the Garden Tomb (entrance included) where we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.
Your flight home may depart either tonight or the following day. If the following day, and an overnight is required, overnight Jerusalem.
Your flight home may depart either the previous night or today. If today and time allows, breakfast is included today. Either way, today we will arrive back at MIA.