Holy Land Pilgrimage

The Best of Israel Adult Pilgrimage (2019)

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In May 2019, we traveled to the Holy Land, to walk where Jesus walked and experience the places where he worshiped, prayed, taught, healed, and served. This pilgrimage around Israel was a unique opportunity to deepen our faith by bringing Biblical geography to life. 

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the Itinerary RECAP

Israel, Jaffa, and Caesarea

We visited Jaffa, the ancient port that Jonah sailed from and the location where Peter had a vision from God, and traveled along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News and were baptized. We saw the Roman Amphitheatre, hippodrome, and aqueduct before checking into our seaside hotel. 

Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Nazareth, Mt. Tabor, and Mt. Arbel

Next we journeyed toward Galilee and to Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. We visited Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, and Mount Tabor, believed to be the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. At Mount Arbel we enjoyed a birds-eye view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. From atop Mount Tabor, we better understand the graphic layout of Jesus’ ministry. We will had dinner and overnight lodging for two nights in the Tiberias area on the Sea of Galilee.

Capernaum, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, and Mt. of Beatitudes

We saw Dan, where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship, and Caesarea Philippi, the site of Peter’s Confession. In Capernaum we visited the ruins of an ancient synagogue and Peter’s home. Then we traveled to the possible site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes in Bethsaida and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea. After viewing the ancient Fisherman Boat at an operating kibbutz, we enjoyed a relaxing cruise on the Sea of Galilee. 

Jordan River Baptism Sites, Beth Shean, Bethany, and Jerusalem

We had an opportunity to be baptized at the Jordan River Baptismal site before traveling southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archaeological site in Israel. We followed the Jordan Valley southward, through the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s irrigation development. We passed ancient Jericho, famed as the oldest city in the world, on our way to the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, where Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan, as well as the area where the children of Israel were led to the Promised Land. 

Around Jerusalem, Bible Times, Holocaust Museum

We visited the Temple Mount, with commentary on the Temple Periods, and the variety of belief systems past and present that make this area so valuable. From there, we were also be able to see the Pool of Bethesda, Stephen’s Gate, and St. Ann’s Church. Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visited the “Upper Room.” At the Israeli Museum, we will walked through collections of centuries-old artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls. A model of Biblical Jerusalem helped prepare us for the following days. 

Jesus’ Steps, the Last Days

After a panoramic view of Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives, we saw the Garden of Gethsemane and the House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon. We also visited the Wailing Wall and the Rabbinical Tunnels, leading us through the Second Temple era. We moved on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate and then transferred to the Dead Sea, where we enjoyed our dinner and overnight. 

Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Scrolls, Abraham’s Tent

We enjoyed a cable car ride to the mountaintop fortress of Masada, and then proceeded to Ein Gedi, “Spring of the Goat,” an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea known for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. Next we visited Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We took part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham’s Tent and relivedthe time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, camel ride, and authentic food. 

Day of Suffering, Garden Tomb, Pentecost, Bethlehem

We walked along the Via Dolorosa and see Golgotha and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrated the resurrection with communion and a time of praise.