THURSDAY, MARCH 7
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
The first overnight is in Tel Aviv. See the link: Arrival and Departure Information. Overnight: Grand Beach Hotel (D, B)
FRIDAY, MARCH 8
ROMAN ISRAEL AND THE GENTILES
Caesarea. Mt. Carmel. Sepphoris. Nazareth.
Our day begins with a morning drive through the region of the Sharon Plain to the NT seaport city of Caesarea. Built by Herod the Great and later serving as the official residence of Pontius Pilate, Caesarea was the principal commercial and cultural sea link to the Roman Empire. Peter came to Caesarea and ministered to the household of Cornelius (Acts 10), and it was from here that Paul, as a prisoner, was sent to Rome (Acts 24). The site of Caesarea is well excavated, and several restored facilities will draw our special attention: Theatre, Herod’s Palace, Hippodrome, ancient Harbor, Crusader fortifications and the Roman-era aqueduct. Next we travel to Mount Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Here we consider the conflict between the Israelite and Canaanite cultures. We continue our journey northward to the site of Sepphoris. Located only a few miles from Nazareth, the city served as the capital of Galilee during Jesus' early life. We end our day in Nazareth, with a visit to the Church of Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s home.
Overnight: Ein Gev — We are at this hotel for three nights (B,D)
SATURDAY, MARCH 9
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM
Golan Heights. Tel Dan. Har Bental. Caesarea Phillipi/Banias.
Today we journey to the norther borders of the Land of Israel. We visit Tel Dan, one of the most impressive archaeological sites on the border of the Land of Israel. Archaeological remains from the time of Abraham and King Jeroboam are scattered within this lush nature reserve at the headwaters of the Jordan River. At Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider Jesus’ pivotal question to Peter: “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). One of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River is located here and the abundant water supply made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship as evidenced by the remains of various Greek and Roman worship centers. During our time together we will visit Har Bental, a dormant volcanic cone that overlooks Israeli/Syrian border and the road to Damascus that Paul would have taken to seek out the members of the early Jesus movement.
Overnight: Ein Gev (B,D)
SUNDAY, MARCH 10
JESUS' MINISTRY AND THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
El Araj (Candidate for NT Bethsaida). Chorazin. Magdala. Capernaum. Mt. of Beatitudes. First Century Boat. Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee.
Today we give attention to the ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee. We begin with a visit to Et-Tel, an ancient iron age city, with a panoramic view of the plains of Bethsaida. Next is Khirbet el-Araj situated on the lakeshore. This site is currently under excavation. Dr. García is part of the US staff for the summer seasons of the excavations and has participated in 5 seasons. El-Araj is now viewed as the best candidate for the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida,that is, the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44).Then we travel to the location of New Testament Chorazin. This city (along with Bethsaida and Capernaum) was strongly rebuked by Jesus for having witnessed many miracles but still having hearts of unbelief. A restored synagogue provides us the opportunity to discuss the various elements of synagogue worship during New Testament times. Next, we will spend time on the northern slopes of the Sea of Galilee at the Mount of Beatitudes. Here, on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, we consider Jesus’ most famous sermon and his call to discipleship (Matthew 5-7). Traveling on to Magdala, the home of Mary of Magdala has undergone extensive excavations since 2009. The most exciting find is that of a synagogue that dates to the 1 century and could well have been visited by Jesus. A short drive brings us to Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Finally, we travel to nearby Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient 1st century boat was discovered, preserved, and is now displayed. We conclude our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
Overnight: Ein Gev (B,D)
MONDAY, MARCH 11
SETTING OUR FACES TO THE GALILEE
Ein Harod. Beth Alpha. Beth Shean.
Today we follow in the footsteps of Jesus as we leave Galilee with our faces towards Jerusalem. We travel through the eastern edges of the Jezreel Valley with views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain on our way. In the Harod Valley, we visit the springs of Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon’s encampment against the Midianites. A few minutes further east brings us to Beth Alpha, the site of an ancient 6 century Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs. After a short drive we arrive at the biblical city of Beth Shean, a Philistine stronghold during the days of Saul and David. There we examine the recent excavations of its Roman-Byzantine remains when it was known as Scythopolis, one of the Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. The afternoon will be spent in our journey to Jerusalem. On the way, a stop at Wadi Qelt, overlooking Jericho and the location for the Story of the Good Samaritan. From there we travel westward until we reach Jerusalem.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel (B,D) — This is our hotel for the duration of the journey.
TUESDAY, MARCH 12
HEROD THE GREAT'S JERUSALEM
Temple Mount. Old City Introduction. Free Afternoon.
We begin our day on the Temple Mount. Occupied today by two famous landmarks, the golden Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Temple Mount once housed the First Temple (built by King Solomon) and the Second Temple (built by Herod the Great). Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will visit a small museum (Ari'el Center) with a multi-media presentation that will give us an overview of the topography of Jerusalem and how the city developed from a small Canaanite town into the capital of the Israelite nation. In the afternoon, we will visit the Western Wall and have free time in the Old City. A brief introduction will help you understand the major zones of the Old City and we will introduce
you to trusted shopkeepers and friends.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel (B,D)
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13
REFUGE IN THE WILDERNESS OF JUDAH
Masada. Ein Gedi. Qumran. Dead Sea Swim.
We follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived near the Dead Sea and in the Judean Wilderness areas. We spend the morning at Masada where we consider the fate of the Zealot movement (First Jewish Revolt 66-73 AD) which ended at Masada in the spring of 73 AD. Fortified and embellished by Herod the Great, the site abounds with points of interest. Then, at the oasis of Ein Gedi, we walk into a canyon to discover a “river in the desert” in the region where David hid from Saul. We travel to Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and we are invited to think about their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. We conclude our day with a visit to a local beach on the Dead Sea where those who desire will be given an opportunity to float in this unusual body of water. It is a unique experience. Towels and changing areas are provided. We then return to Jerusalem.
Overnight Jerusalem, Gloria Hotel. (B,D)
THURSDAY, MARCH 14
CITY OF THE GREAT KING
This morning we begin in the Jewish Quarter and visit excavations preserving several homes dated to the time of Jesus. We begin at the Wohl Museum where several homes are preserved that give us a glimpse into the life of the privileged class in Jerusalem. Next, is a return visit to the Roman destruction of the Temple Mount area within the Davidson Center grounds for additional discussion. On the south side of the Temple Mount is a series of steps dated to the 1st century AD. These steps lead to two major underground entrances-exits that provide access to the Temple Court of the Gentiles in the days of Jesus' ministry. Adjacent to the steps are ritual baths that were utilized for purity emersion purposes prior to entering the Temple.
In the afternoon we will visit the OT City of David where we have an opportunity to travel through an OT water course known as Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 20:20). We all meet at the end, at the Pool of Siloam. You may recall Jesus sent a blind man to wash his eyes in the Pool of Siloam to receive his sight (John 9). From the Pool of Siloam, we will walk underground through an ancient rainwater drainage channel used in the NT period. This channel will return us to the area within the Old City walls.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel. (B,D)
FRIDAY, MARCH 15
BETHLEHEM AND JERUSALEM
Herodium. Church of the Nativity. Mt. of Olives. Dominus Flevit. Gethsemane. Pool of Bethesda. Holy Sepulcher.
Today we consider events and places from the beginning and end of the life of Jesus. We begin our day at Herodium, which is south and east of Bethlehem. It was the desert palace of Herod the Great, who tried to end Jesus’ life from the beginning. Next we visit the city of Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. In the afternoon we consider Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem. In connection with this theme, we begin on the crest of the Mount of Olives with an overlook to the eastern “Golden Gate” of the Temple Mount. Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. We descend the mount to the Church of Dominus Flevit and the Garden of Gethsemane. On the Via Dolorosa we stop at St. Anne’s Church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude our day at the Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel (B,D)
FRIDAY, MARCH 16
JERUSALEM FREE DAY
Today is a free day for you to do as you please. You are welcome to visit other venues throughout the city and continue your exploration of the Old City.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel (B,D)
SATURDAY, MARCH 17
SAMARIA AND THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Shiloh. Mt. Gerizim. Shechem. Jacob's Well.
Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the region of Samaria north of Jerusalem. We begin at the Old Testament worship center of Shiloh where the Tabernacle once stood. Mount Gerizim served as a worship center for the Samaritans of the New Testament times and is still revered today by the Samaritan communities in this region. Shechem was frequented by the patriarchs and served as the first capital city of the Northern Kingdom. Nearby is Jacob's Well, thought to be the well mentioned in John 4 where Jesus met a woman of Samaria. We end our day at the city of Samaria which served as the last capital city of the Northern Kingdom. Here, in later times, Herod rebuilt the city and dedicated it to Caesar Augustus, calling it Sebaste.
LATE DEPARTURES TO COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN.
Please see the Arrival and Departure Information link for additional information.