Tuesday, May 15 Jerusalem
Arrive at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. (Schedule your flight for arrival before 4:00 p.m.) If we arrive early enough, we’ll stop by the seaside at Old Jaffa—where Jonah launched on a ship, while fleeing a mission from God. This is also where Peter received the vision showing him God’s intentions for the gospel to be for all people. Settle into our hotel at Jerusalem for orientation and rest.
Wednesday, May 16 Jerusalem
Depart by bus for a day steeped in biblical history! We’ll visit the town of Bethlehem, the biblical birthplace of Jesus; Shepherd’s Field, where the shepherds first saw the Star of Nativity; and Herodion, Herod the Great’s recently-discovered tomb. Rest at Bethlehem Bible College to take in a presentation on Palestinian refugees and the plight of Christians in Israel and Palestine. Following the presentation, we will go to the Israel Museum and have the opportunity to view items that directly relate to Jesus and the early church: Caiaphas’ family ossuary, heel and nail artifacts from the crucifixion, a sign warning Gentiles not to enter the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid, Pilate’s inscription from Caesar Maritima and much more.
Thursday, May 17 Jerusalem
An exciting day awaits as we follow the approximate route of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry at the beginning of Passover week. Continue on foot to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus would often retreat to commune with his Father. Pray in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before the crucifixion. From there, make your way through Kidron Valley to the ancient City of David, where the mighty king of Israel built his palace. Then, visit the recently-discovered Pool of Siloam, where Jesus sent a blind man to be healed. Journey to Mount Zion, where Jesus celebrated his last Passover with the disciples. End your day with a visit to the Western “Wailing” Wall, where thousands of Jews meet at the ancient temple platform to pray.
Friday, May 18 Nazareth
Take a bus through the Judean Desert to the lowest spot on earth. On the way, we will stop for an overlook of Wadi Qelt. There, we’ll remember the unfortunate man who was robbed and then tended to by the Good Samaritan in the well-known parable. Visit ancient Jericho and consider the conquest of Canaan by invading Israelites under Joshua. Take a cable car up the Mount of Temptation for a view of Jordan Valley, where the Israelites crossed into Canaan, Jesus was baptized, and where Herod the Great died. Travel up the Jordan Valley and through Jezreel Valley next to Mt. Gilboa (where Saul and Jonathan died) and journey through the valley where Gideon battled the Midianites. As we journey on to Nazareth, we’ll view the Basilica of the Annunciation, which is built over the traditional site of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary. We’ll also see Mary’s Well and the Synagogue Church, which is the likely site of Jesus’ inaugural sermon at Nazareth.
Saturday, May 19 Nazareth
Unique experiences are in store today as the group walks from Nazareth to Sepphoris/Zippori (4.8 miles/7.8 km). Feast your eyes upon the remarkable ruins of the Greco-Roman city close to Jesus’ childhood home and learn about the revolt that took place there, against Rome, when Herod the Great died. Then, we’ll return to Nazareth by bus and spend some time at Nazareth Village. At this living history museum of a first-century village, we’ll learn more about the life and teachings of Jesus as we see what his childhood hometown might have looked like.
Sunday, May 20 Nazareth
Continue along the Jesus Trail from Sepphoris to Cana (3.5 miles/5.6 km). Pass through Gath-Hepher, the hometown of the well-known prophet Jonah, whom God called to preach to the enemies of Israel. Stand in the village of Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle – turning water to wine.
Monday, May 21 Kibbutz Lavi
Spend the day taking in sprawling landscapes and a short stretch of the Roman road as you walk from Cana to Kibbutz Lavi (9 miles/14.4 km).
Tuesday, May 22 Sea of Galilee – Nof Ginosar
Experience the panoramic views that the Jesus Trail offers as you hike from Kibbutz Lavi to Nebi Shu’eib (3.8 miles/6.1 km). Continue on through the Horns of Hattin battlefield, where you will get your first glimpses of Sea of Galilee. From there, you’ll walk from Nebi Shu’eib to Moshav Arbel (6 miles/9.6 km). From the soaring heights of Mount Arbel, you can look down over the entire shore of the Sea of Galilee where much of Jesus’ ministry took place.
Wednesday, May 23 Sea of Galilee – Nof Ginosar
Ascend the heights of the Mount of Beatitudes by bus, and recall the Sermon on the Mount. Then, see some of Jesus’ well known ministry sites such as Capernaum and Tabgha, by the Sea of Galilee where he performed another eminent miracle – the Feeding of the Five Thousand. From there, take to the sea as we board a boat for a ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus calmed a storm with his hands. Once back on land, we will view an ancient synagogue that was discovered in 2009 at Magdala, the likely home of Mary Magdalene.
Thursday, May 24 Sea of Galilee – Nof Ginosar
On our final full day, relax during a scenic drive up into the foothills of Mount Hermon. Explore the Tel Dan nature reserve, which includes ruins of a Canaanite city dating to 1800 B.C. View the remains of the Israelite cultic center of Dan (“from Dan to Beersheba”). Hike in Banias Nature Reserve and see the headwaters of the Jordan River and remains of temples at Caesarea Philippi. This is where Jesus took his disciples to ask them, “Who do people say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”
Friday, May 25
Transfer to Tel Aviv for your flights to North America. (Schedule your flight for departure after 9:00 a.m.) Travel home with rich new insights to inform your faith and understanding of the Bible.
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