ITINERARY

(B,D) = Breakfast and Dinner included

MONDAY, MAY 21
DEPARTURE DAY FROM THE USA
See the Flights link for additional information.

TUESDAY, MAY 22
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL

After airport customs, we have a 2 hour bus journey to our overnight hotel located in the south of Israel at Arad. (D) 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 23
NEGEV AND SHEPHELAH: “LAND OF PROMISE"

Our study begins with an examination of Old Testament sites in the southern desert region known as the Negev. In this demanding landscape God tested the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here also, some Israelites attempted an ill-fated and ill-advised premature "conquest" of the promised land. David lived in this region during his "friendship" with Philistine kings. The second half of the day we travel into the geographical region known as the Shephelah. Located between the Coastal Plain and the Judean Hill Country, these foothills served as an important "buffer-zone" between the Judeans in the hill country and the Philistines on the coast. Within the Shephelah we will visit the general locale of David's battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and conclude the day at biblical Beth Shemesh, near Samson's home and exploits. (B,D) 

THURSDAY, MAY 24
SHARON PLAIN AND JEZREEL VALLEY: “KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT"

Today we address the social, religious and political tensions which lie behind the relationship between the Jewish people and the foreigners in the land. At Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea, we give thought to the conversion of Cornelius and at Mount Carmel we consider Elijah’s confrontation with the Phoenician prophets of Baal. Arriving at Sepphoris, the capital of Roman Galilee at the time of Jesus' birth and a city where Jews and Gentiles lived together, we explore impressive excavations and Jesus' ministry in this area. Only five miles away, we conclude today's activities in the childhood home of Jesus -- Nazareth. (B,D) 

FRIDAY, MAY 25
NORTH: “HEAD OF KINGDOMS" AND "WHO DO PEOPLE SAY THAT I AM?"

Today we examine two themes. At the Old Testament sites of Hazor and at Dan we explore the vital need to capture, fortify and hold strategic military centers in the north. These cities were of vital importance to ancient Israel if it was to maintain its unity and security in its northern territories. After lunch we shift our thoughts to the various messianic expectations in the first century and how they penetrate into the language of Jesus and the Early Church. At Caesarea Philippi, on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon, we consider the event of the Transfiguration from which Jesus set face for Jerusalem. In view of the Lebanese and Syrian borders, the dynamics of the modern political situation are briefly addressed. (B,D) 

SATURDAY, MAY 26
SEA OF GALILEE: “THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE"

A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Bethsaida, Chorazin and the Mount of Beatitudes we consider the second stage of Jesus' ministry with attention given to his teachings within their contemporary context. In the afternoon we take time at Capernaum, the center of Jesus' Galilean ministry, to consider his teachings and miracles in this lakeside town. We continue to Kibbutz Ginosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) is preserved. We conclude our day with a boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee. (B,D) 

SUNDAY, MAY 27
JORDAN VALLEY: “SETTING OUR FACES TOWARD JERUSALEM"

Today we travel to Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Wilderness of Judea. We begin with a scenic drive through the hills and valleys of Lower Galilee. Views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain capture our attention as we make our way to the Harod Valley. In this valley we visit Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon's encampment against the Midianites. A few minutes east brings us to Beth Alpha, the locale of an ancient Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs. A short drive takes us to the biblical city of Beth Shan, 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 late afternoon will be spent in journey to Jerusalem. We approach Jerusalem from the east via the Wilderness of Judea. (B,D) 

MONDAY, MAY 28
JERUSALEM: “JERUSALEM'S PAST AND PRESENT”

Today begins with a visit to the Temple Mount, a site of historical significance and political dispute. Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will venture through the various Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem as an orientation to local sites of historical interest and local free time activities. The remainder of the day is free time for you to enjoy the character of Jerusalem's Old City. (B,D) 

 

TUESDAY, MAY 29
JERUSALEM: “CITY OF THE GREAT KING”

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 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 Old Testament 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). (B,D) 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30
JERUSALEM: “JESUS IN JERUSALEM”

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 at the Herodium located to the east of Bethlehem. Here we discuss the rule and personality of King Herod before moving on to Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity. We return to Jerusalem and continue our discussion from the Mount of Olives. We descend the mount to the church of Dominus Flavit and to the Garden of Gethsemane. We continue into the Old City to visit St. Anne's church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection. (B,D) 

THURSDAY, MAY 31
DEAD SEA: “CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS”

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 Kimg Saul. Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. Our journey to Jerusalem has us driving through the Wilderness of Judea. (B,D) 

FRIDAY, JUNE 1
JERUSALEM: 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. (B,D) 

SATURDAY, JUNE 2
RETURN DAY TO THE USA
See the Flights link for additional information.

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Testimonials

  • "First of all, the trip was wonderful. I realize more and more how much of a gift it was since arriving home. It was a true blessing to have someone of the caliber of Dr. Steve Notley leading it. I know more now about the land of Jesus , the terrain and distances involved. It has made my Bible study come more alive as I can now place all of the locations. That takes sort of the "logical" mystery out of the Bible for me, and I can better focus on the spiritual side. The mere act of such a travel experience -- I had never gone any farther than Mexico -- combined with the Bible history lessons broadened my mind and soul. The trip continues to grow on me since arriving home. In a few years, I hope to take my wife and would not hesitate -- in fact would seek out -- an Emmaus trip. Thanks and God Bless."
    J.S., Israel Trip