WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
The first overnight is in Tel Aviv. See the link: Arrival and Departure Information.
Overnight: Grand Beach Hotel (D, B)
THURSDAY, MAY 16
KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT
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: Nof Ginosar. We are at this hotel for four nights. (B,D)
FRIDAY, MAY 17
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM
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 effort to fortify this northern gateway to the Galilee.
We next 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 verdant nature reserve at the headwaters of the Jordan River. At Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider Jesus’ pivotal question: “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. We journey to our hotel through the Golan Heights.
Overnight: Nof Ginosar. (B,D)
SATURDAY, MAY 18
THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE
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. Then we travel to the location of NT 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). 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: Nof Ginosar. (B,D)
SUNDAY, MAY 19
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
We explore the area around the Sea of Galilee, looking at additional sites that inform us about the setting of the Gospels. Our day begins at the Byzantine church and synagogue of Kursi, the likely location of the meeting between Jesus and the “Gergasene” demoniac (Luke 8:26-39; Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34). Conditions permitting, next is Khirbet el-Araj situated on the lakeshore. This site is currently under excavation by Dr. Steve Notley and several consortium institutions. It is viewed as the best candidate for the Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida and the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44). 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. Then we ascend to the cliffs of Mount Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights, and the hills of Upper Galilee. Here we bring to a close our consideration of Jesus’ ministry in the northern regions of the country. Overnight: Nof Ginosar. (B,D)
MONDAY, MAY 20
SETTING OUR FACES TOWARDS JERUSALEM
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 in the Jericho region may be possible, if political circumstances allow entry into Jericho. From Jericho westward, we travel through the Wilderness of Judah until we reach Jerusalem. Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel. (B,D)
TUESDAY, MAY 21
JERUSALEM: TEMPLE MOUNT AND OLD CITY OVERVIEW
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). Then we walk through the four quarters of the Old City providing a brief historical and geographical overview. We will be introduced to recommended areas for shopping. The afternoon will be free to rest, shop, or visit places of personal interest. After dinner we will have a guided walk through the Western Wall Tunnels.
Overnight Jerusalem: Gloria Hotel. (B,D)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
CITY OF THE GREAT KING
Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. We examine 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 Herodian Villas, (3) the Burnt House, and (4) the Gennath Gate. After lunch we will visit the City of David of OT times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC). We conclude the day with a visit to the Pool of Siloam (John 9). Overnight: Gloria Hotel. (B,D)
THURSDAY, MAY 23
BETHLEHEM AND JERUSALEM
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, MAY 24
CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS
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)
SATURDAY, MAY 25
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)
NOTE: Some of you may have scheduled your departure from Israel on this day. You may ask for a taxi at the front desk. Cost is $90-$100 and the cost can be shared according to the number of riders. You are welcome to keep your room until it is necessary for you to leave for the airport.
Please see the Arrival and Departure Information link for additional information.
SUNDAY, MAY 26
This is the scheduled departure day. Check out time is 11:00 AM.
See the link: Arrival and Departure Infomation. (B)