Day 1. Arrival in Tel Aviv. we proceed to Nazareth.
Day 2. Nazareth – visiting the Church of the Annunciation, site of the ancient village of Jesus and the synagogue. We go on to Cana, commemorating Jesus’ transformation of water into wine. We end the day at Mt. Tabor enjoying a view of the Plain of Jezreel and Armageddon.
Day 3. We drive along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, where we visit the synagogue and the place where early Christians remembered Peter’s house. We enjoy sailing on the Sea of Galilee. We continue to Tabgha to view the mosaics in the Church of the Loaves and Fishes. Ascending the Mt. of Beatitudes, we listen to Jesus’ teachings.
Day 4. We begin where the baptism of Gentiles began: at Caesarea Maritima in Israel (focus on Acts 10). We include the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. Then we drive to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel, with a panorama of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon). (Focus on I Kings 18, the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.)
Day 5. We drive through the lovely valley of Jordan, the pass through which Jacob (and probably his grandfather before him) entered the promised land. At Jericho, we see oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation.
In the afternoon, we drive to Qumran. Here we view Cave # 4, which contained the greatest quantity of Dead Sea scrolls.
Time for a Swimming at the Dead Sea.
Finally, through the Judaean desert atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem.
Day 6. Driving south, we go to Shepherds’ Fields. We conclude the day with a visit to Bethlehem, walking through its alleys and markets to the Church of the Nativity.
Afternoon we visit Ein Karem – Church of the Visitation, and John the Baptist birthplace.
Day 7. We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday route to the church known as Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. Then we drive to Mt. Zion: to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus.)
Day 8. We visit the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount.
In the afternoon, we visit St. Anne’s Pools then walk the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher .
Day 9. We drive to the airport for departure.