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Itinerary

B= Breakfast

D= Dinner

SATURDAY, MAY 27
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL

See the Arrival and Departure link for additional information. Overnight: Ashdod (D)

 

SUNDAY, MAY 28
A LAND OF TESTING-A LAND OF PROMISE

ASHKELON, BEERSHEVA, MARESHAH, GEZER

We begin our journey on the historic road towards the wilderness that figured so prominently in the biblical narrative from the time of Abraham (Gen 21) and into the days of the New Testament (Acts 8). Beersheba in the biblical Negev marked the southern edge of the land of promise, while Ashkelon and

Gezer were Philistine cities that dominated the coastal plain. At Mareshah, home of the prophet Micah, in the biblical Shephelah we investigate the archaeological remains from the Hellenistic and Roman city. Overnight: Netanya (B, D)  

 

MONDAY, MAY 29
KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT

CAESAREA, DOR, MT. CARMEL, MEGIDDO

Our day begins with a morning drive through 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 visit the important Phoenician seaport of Dor that figured so importantly throughout the ancient period.  In the afternoon we ascend Mount Carmel, site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. We conclude our day at Megiddo, which controlled passage along the international coastal highway through the Jezreel Valley and Galilee.  At both Mt. Carmel and Megiddo we will consider the conflict between the Israelite and Canaanite cultures.  

Overnight: Sea of Galilee (B, D)

 

TUESDAY, MAY 30
LAND OF ZEBULON AND NAPHTALI

SEPPHORIS, NAZARETH, MT. ARBEL

We trace the geographical regions of Lower Galilee, in the area of Jesus’ early life. Our first stop is at Sepphoris the capital of Galilee when Jesus, Joseph and Mary lived nearby. Here we gain insights into Jesus’ family life and the challenge that faced the Jewish people in the Roman period.  On to Nazareth, boyhood home of Jesus, we visit the Church of Annunciation, traditional site of Mary’s home. Other first century remains from this village await our exploration.  We conclude our day at Mount Arbel with a magnificent overlook to the Sea of Galilee and the area of Jesus’ ministry.  

Overnight: Sea of Galilee (B, D)

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31
THE WAY OF THE SEA

HAZOR, DAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, OMRIT

Today we journey to the northern borders of the Land of Israel. At Hazor we find evidence of Joshua’s burning “the chief cities of the Canaanites” and later the location of Solomon’s efforts to fortify this northern gateway to the Galilee. Tel Dan is 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 verdant nature reserve at the headwaters of the Jordan River. At Caesarea Philippi (Banias) we consider Jesus’ pivotal question, “Who do you say that I am?” We conclude our day at the fascinating, new and seldom-visited excavations of Omrit, where we find an impressive Herodian temple.

Overnight: Sea of Galilee (B,D)

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 1
LAND BEYOND THE JORDAN

GAMLA, ET-TEL, EL-ARAJ-BETHSAIDA, BEIT SHEAN, GAN HASHLOSAH

A full day traveling through the upper regions of the Golan on the western edge of the volcanic Hauran plateau. At Umm el-Kanatir we find a reconstructed Byzantine synagogue. Nearby is Hippos (Susita) one of the Decapolis cities and candidate for Jesus’ “city on a hill.” We hike to the impressive remains at Gamla where the people of this first-century city fought the Romans to their death. Today the ancient city boasts one of the few first-century synagogues. Descending from the Golan Heights to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, we consider the current debate regarding the location of first-century Bethsaida with visits to et-Tell and el-Araj.  In the afternoon we enter the lower Jordan Valley to Beth Shean and conclude our travels with a swim in the turquoise, tepid pools of Gan Hashlosha (Sachne).  

Overnight: Sea of Galilee (B,D)

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Itinerary

B= Breakfast

D= Dinner

FRIDAY, JUNE 2
SEA OF GALILEE

CHORAZIN, MT. OF BEATITUDES, CAPERNAUM, MAGDALA, 1st CENTURY BOAT, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE

A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Chorazin and the Mount of Beatitudes we consider Jesus' teaching ministry with attention given to the contemporary context. In the afternoon we take time at Capernaum, the center of Jesus' Galilean ministry, to consider his message and miracles in this lakeside town. On to Magdala, where we visit the recent excavations and the first century synagogue, home of Mary Magdelene.  Our final stop is at Kibbutz Ginosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) is preserved. We conclude our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Overnight: Sea of Galilee (B,D)

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 3
REFUGE IN THE WILDERNESS

MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, DEAD SEA

Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the Judean Wilderness. At Masada we consider the fate of the Zealot movement which ended on this rocky promontory. At the oasis of Ein Gedi we walk in to observe a "river in the desert" in the region where David hid from King Saul. Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. Before ascending to Jerusalem, we stop for a swim in the Dead Sea.  Our journey to Jerusalem will take us through the Wilderness of Judea.  Overnight: Jerusalem (B, D)

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 4
SAMARIA

SHILOH, MT. GERIZIM, SHECHEM, JACOB'S WELL, SAMARIA

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.  Overnight:  Jerusalem (B, D)

 

MONDAY, JUNE 5
CITY OF THE GREAT KING

BURNT HOUSE, WESTERN WALL, SOUTHERN STEPS, TEMPLE MOUNT, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH'S TUNNEL, POOL OF SILOAM, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL

Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. We enter the Old City to examine the physical setting of Jerusalem nestled among the hills and valleys of Judah. We now turn our attention to the historical rule of Herod the Great (ending in 4BC), his successors and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. Key archaeological sites to be visited in the Jewish Quarter include: (1) the Southern Excavations, (2) the Burnt House, and (3) the Gennath Gate. After lunch we will visit the City of David of Old Testament times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC). Those who desire will have the opportunity walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  We conclude the day with a visit to the Pool of Siloam (John 9).  In the evening after dinner we will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall Tunnel.  Overnight: Jerusalem (B, D)

TUESDAY, JUNE 6
BETHLEHEM AND JERUSALEM:  THE BEGINNING AND THE END

JERUSALEM-MT. OF OLIVES, DOMINUS FLAVIT, GETHSEMANE, POOLS OF BETHESDA, HOLY SEPULCHRE

BETHLEHEM-HERODIUM

Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. In connection with these themes we begin our touring atop the Mount of Olives. We descend the mount to the chapel of Dominus Flevit and to the Garden of Gethsemane. We continue into the Old City to visit St. Anne'sChurch, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection. In the afternoon we travel southeast of Jerusalem to the Herodium located to the east of Bethlehem. Here we discuss the rule and personality of King Herod who was buried at Herodium.  Finally, we move on to Bethlehem to consider the events recorded in the birth of Jesus.   Overnight: Jerusalem (B, D)

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7
FREE DAY

This is a free day for you to explore the city. We leave for the airport promptly after the evening meal so it is important that you pack your bags prior to dinner. See the Arrival and Departure link for additional information. (B, D)

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 8
ARRIVE USA

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