Day 1, Monday, January 20, 2020
Depart Dallas (DFW) for a connection in the northeastern U.S. (TBA, depending on airline) on an overnight flight to Tel Aviv. Dinner and breakfast will be served on the plane.
Day 2, Tuesday, January 21
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we will meet a representative from our tour company (Select International Tours) who will assist us through customs and introduce us to our amazing tour guide, George. We will board our bus, meet our driver, and transfer to our hotel in Tel Aviv for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 3, Wednesday, January 22
After breakfast, we start our day with a visit to Caesarea Maritima (Caesarea-by-the-Sea) to see the Roman amphitheater, Roman barracks, ruins of Herod the Great’s palace, and the Crusader castle. We continue north along the coast to Mt. Carmel to see the sites associated with Elijah’s triumph over the prophets of Baal and a spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley, then along to Galilee for a visit to Mt. Arbel before our dinner and overnight in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Day 4, Thursday, January 23
After breakfast at our hotel, we begin the day with a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee. During the ride, we will stop the engines and pause for a brief worship and devotional time, and for some quiet time for reflection as we remember the many events in Jesus’ ministry that happened on and around the Sea of Galilee. We’ll dock at Ginossar to visit the “Jesus Boat” museum, where we see a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. In Capernaum, we will see the remains of an early church, the remains of Peter’s house, and the ancient synagogue. Our next stop is Mount of Beatitudes, also on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum. Lunch of St. Peter’s fish is included today. our last stop is Tabgha to see the church marking the traditional location of Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fish. We’ll have dinner and overnight at our hotel in Tiberias.
Day 5, Friday, January 24
In the morning we visit Jesus’ boyhood home of Nazareth, where we stop to see Mount Precipice and then visit both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches of the Annunciation. A short drive takes us to Cana, the traditional site of Jesus’ first miracle. In the afternoon we visit Tel Dan, a nature reserve and impressive archaeological site with Canaanite remains. From there, we continue to Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where Peter made his confession that Jesus was the Son of God and where we find one of the sources of the Jordan River.
Day 6, Saturday, January 25
Today we depart from the Galilee region and travel south through the Jordan River valley. We will stop at Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan, where John baptized those who came to him, including Jesus. We then visit Jericho of the Old Testament, one of the oldest cities in the world, and we will see the excavations of some of its ancient walls, view the “Mount of Temptation,” and see Elijah’s spring. From there, we’ll continue south to the Dead Sea to spend the rest of the day at leisure, including a swim in the mineral-rich waters if you like. We will have dinner and and an overnight stay at our hotel on the Dead Sea coast.
Day 7, Sunday, January 26
Breakfast is at the hotel, then we travel to the mountain fortress of Masada where Herod the Great built one of his most unique palaces and where we will encounter a unique and remarkable part of Israel’s history. After this exciting tour, we drive north to En Gedi, a green oasis in the middle of the desert, to see where David hid from King Saul. We will also stop to view St. George Monastery on the cliffs of Wadi Qelt. St. George has been an active monastery since the fifth century A.D. We make a stop on Mt. Scopus for a “Genesis welcome” as we enter Jerusalem. No one ever forgets the sight of Jerusalem the first time they see the Holy City. We’ll check into our last hotel for dinner overnight.
Day 8, Monday, January 27
This morning we plan to have time at leisure to do some exploring in the city. In the afternoon, we take a short drive to reach Bethlehem for a visit to the Church of Nativity built over the traditional cave of Christ’s birth, as well as Shepherd’s Field. We will be able to do some shopping in a local store, and in the evening enjoy a “Sharing the Bread” meal in the homes of local Christian families. We return to Jerusalem to stay the night.
Day 9, Tuesday, January 28
After breakfast in the hotel, we ascend Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where we will see the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Then we’ll visit St. Anne’s Church and the Pool of Bethesda, as well as the Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest place for Jews. We continue with a visit to the Western Wall Tunnels and Excavation site, and we will walk on first-century stones that were in place on the south side of Herod’s Temple and the place where Jesus and other rabbis of that time did their teaching. We travel a short distance to the Mount of Olives for a breathtaking view of Jerusalem. Our guide will point out the most important sites in Jerusalem as we drive to the top of the Mount of Olives to walk “Palm Sunday Road” to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there we’ll drive around to Mt. Zion to visit the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, Caiaphas’ House, the “King David Tomb,” and the traditional site associated with the Upper Room, where Jesus held the Last Supper. Our walk will take us to the Jewish Quarter before we end the day visiting the Southern Wall excavations. Our dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Jerusalem.
Day 10, Wednesday, January 29
We start the day walking along the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa), including a visit to the Ecce Homo Church and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. We will see the recent archaeological discovery of the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed a man who was blind. Next, we will drive to the Israel Museum to see the model of first-century Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book, which is the permanent home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Our last stop is the Garden Tomb, a peaceful spot to remember Christ’s crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, and to celebrate Holy Communion together. We’ll have a farewell dinner in Jerusalem and spend our last night at our hotel in the city.
Day 11, Thursday, January 30
In the morning, all who are not continuing on to Jordan for the 3-day extension will transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for our flight home.
Optional Jordan Extension:
Day 11, Thursday, January 30
Following breakfast, we will depart from Jerusalem and drive toward the border via the Allenby Bridge Crossing. We meet our Jordanian guide and driver, and start our exploration with a visit to Madaba, the site of the famous mosaic map of Jerusalem from the Byzantine period. Then we will drive a short distance to Mt. Nebo to stand where Moses stood to view the Promised Land. Our dinner and overnight will be in Petra.
Day 12, Friday, January 31
We begin our day with a visit to ancient Petra, the ancient Edomite and Nabatean capital called “the 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, all carved in the solid rock formations. We return to our Petra hotel for the night.
Day 13, Saturday, February 1
In the morning after breakfast, we tour the ancient ruins of Jerash before driving to Amman for an afternoon visit of the city. Farewell dinner is in a local restaurant. Rest at our hotel in Amman before transferring to the airport for our flights home.
Day 14, Sunday, February 2
Arrive at DFW airport.