Holy Land Petra Tour with Houston's First Baptist
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Day by Day
fridayHouston, Tel Aviv
Today we will meet at Houston International airport for our connecting flights to Tel Aviv via widebody aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
saturdayIstanbul, Tel Aviv
Today we will arrive in Istanbul and transfer to our flight to Tel Aviv. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. We board our bus and travel through Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel. We proceed to the Mediterranean to our hotel where we will check in overnight.
sundayCaesarea, Megiddo , Nazareth, Tiberias
This morning we proceed to Caesarea Maritima, capital of the Roman procurators of Judea. There we visit Herod’s palace, the Roman port, Crusader's moat, Roman theater, hippodrome and aqueduct. We continue through the valley of Megiddo on the way to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. We look and see the gorgeous views of the area from Mt. Precipice. The Basilica of the Annunciation is a must-see site where Mary was confronted by the angel. Traveling through Cana we see where Jesus performed the first miracle, turning water into wine (John 2). Arriving in Tiberias we proceed to Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene. It was a fishing center where Peter would have brought his catch for processing and sold. The Encounter Chapel with its magnificent mural of the woman touching the hem of Jesus’ garment is also here. Then we proceed to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
mondayDan, Caesarea Philippi, Beatitudes, Jordan River
"The Head of all those Kingdoms" (Joshua 11:10) The Sources of the Jordan. This morning our drive takes us through the Hula Valley past Hazor to the northern limits of Jesus' travel as we cross the River Hatzbani to Dan. Here we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, topped by the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). Then a short drive to Banias (Caesarea Philippi, dedicated to Pan the Greek god of pastures, flocks and shepherds; here Peter made his great profession of faith, recognition of Christ Jesus (Matthew 16). Driving along the foot of Mount Hermon, we ascend onto the Golan Plateau for a magnificent view of upper Israel. On our return we will visit Capernaum, Tabgha, Mt. of the Beatitudes and the Jordan River before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
tuesdayTiberias, Sea of Galilee Cruise, Bet Shean, Dead Sea
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, returning to Nof Ginosar where we will see the New Testament fisherman’s boat found below the sea. We continue via the Crusader fortress of Belvoir along the Rift Valley to Bet Shean, where King Saul and his sons were pinned to the walls. It became the Decapolis capital and was traveled by Jesus and known as Scythopolis. We will see the ancient theater, Circus Maximus and Cardo Maximo. We head to Sebastia and Jacob's Well, the place Jesus met the lady to draw water. She said the well was deep. Drop a pebble and wait!!! We head down the Jordan River road and enter the Judean wilderness, on our way to the Dead Sea. We will travel along the Dead Sea as we go to our hotel. After we arrive take a swim as travelers 2,000 years ago would have done. Dinner and overnight are at the hotel.
wednesdayDead Sea, Masada, Jericho, Jerusalem
This morning we drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth-century Byzantine church. Continuing alongside the Dead Sea, 1300 ft. below sea level -- the lowest spot on earth -- we stop at Ein Gedi. Here we will have time to walk to the water falls that David would have used while he was fleeing from Saul. This afternoon we proceed to Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We travel to Jericho, the world's oldest city. Then we head up to Jerusalem where we will enter the Golden City for a panoramic view, continuing to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
thursdayMt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Herodium, Shepherd's Field, Bethlehem
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace" (Luke 19:42) We start the day via the Chapel of Ascension and Paternoster to the Mt. of Olives for an orientation view of Jerusalem and the opportunity of a group photograph overlooking Jerusalem. We then walk the traditional Passion walk. We descend to the church known as Dominus Flevit ("Our Lord weeps"). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text and view the Church of All Nations. Next we visit the Upper Room and the Tomb of King David, enter the Zion Gate and proceed to the Steps that entered the temple and the Southern Wall. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. See a video that shows the temple as it was at Herod's (or Jesus') time. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11). We drive south to the region of Bethlehem Bethlehem passing Rachel's Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem. We drive to a hilltop for a view of Bethlehem, noting its relation to the rest of the central mountain range, including Jerusalem, as well as to the desert and the area of ancient Moab. This is Herodium, the palace set in a conical mountain built by Herod to mark his tomb. Note the juxtaposition of the two Kings of the Jews. The King Herod buried in great opulence and the King of the Jews born in a humble manger in Bethlehem sitting in the background of the Herodium. We then drive to one of the possible sites for Shepherds' Fields. We continue into Bethlehem itself, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
fridayJerusalem, Western Wall Tunnel, Garden Tomb, Church of the Holy Sepulcher
“He is risen!” Mark 16:6. Our day begins with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site inside the Old City where Jesus was crucified and buried. Through the streets of the Old City we arrive at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We then ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, considered the third holiest site of Islam, located on the site of the ancient Temple Mount. Here the first and second Temples once stood. We proceed to the steps that entered the Temple and the Southern Wall. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. We are also near the highest point of the Temple where Jesus was tempted the second time. We visit the Upper Room, similar to the one where Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples. Continuing to Mt Zion and to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. We then will visit the house of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, where Jesus was interrogated. We will see the dungeon beneath the house where Jesus could have been held. We board our bus to the Garden Tomb outside the city walls where we will enjoy the beautiful setting and have a private communion on the grounds. We then return to our hotel for dinner. After dinner we will board our bus for our exciting tour of the famous Rabinical Tunnel, also known as the Western Wall Tunnel. Here we will enter by the Western Wall plaza and go down to the foundation of the Second Temple. We will see a model that will demonstrate where we are in location to the Temple in the time of Christ. We continue along the tunnel as we proceed to the Gateway of the Priests, entry to the Holy of Holies. We then return to the hotel overnight.
saturdayOld City, Via Dolorosa, Shrine of the Book, Hezekiah's Tunnel, Free Time
After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethsaida (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church. The church is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. Continuing on we see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) through the bazaars of the Old City. From there we walk from the Christian Quarter along the Arab Souks, through the Cardo Maximo and past the Armenian Quarter. We will then proceed to the City of David and Hezekiah’s Tunnel and hike 1749 feet from one end to the other. This tunnel was dug by Hezekiah’s men in the 8th century BC. We will also see the Pool of Siloam talked about in the Bible, as part of it has recently been excavated. Our last site today is the Shrine of the Book Museum. Here some of the incredible Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. The Model City of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple will also be seen there. Our afternoon will consist of some free time to explore and/or shop in the Old City. The bus will drop us at the Jaffa Gate which is surrounded by the Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter, and Armenian Quarters. Later the bus will take us back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
We transfer to the airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading.
Post-Tour: Petra (HFB)
Day by Day
sundayJerusalem, Jordan River, Mt. Nebo, Petra
This morning we will go to the famous Allenby Bridge. We will cross over to Jordan, meet our guide and head north to the traditional site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Then we continue to Mt. Nebo from where God showed Moses the Promised Land. Driving to Madaba and St George’s Church we see its 6th century mosaic floor showing a map of the Holy Land as Christian pilgrims knew it in that period. This afternoon we continue to the Rose Red city of Petra. Upon arrival we are taken to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Today we will spend time in one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We start the tour of Petra; you are in the heart of the rose red Seir mountains as mentioned in the Biblical Book of Genesis. This mountain range houses the Aaron Peak, which is the highest locality in Petra and the burial place of Aaron brother of Moses. A walk down through the narrow ‘Siq’ passage, being the main entrance to Petra, along 1250 meters brings you to the first monument Treasure "the same as the one seen in the Indiana Jones' movie". A walk further down through the outer ‘Siq’ encompassed by tombs and burial chambers brings you to one of the largest theaters in Jordan. This theater is carved into the sand stone mountains of Petra at the bottom of the High place of Sacrifice Mountain. Apparently some sacrificial rituals used to take place here. Now, it is time to walk up hill to the Royal Tombs. You will have a great view of the lower part of Petra with all its Roman remains. These tombs are: The Urn- Corinthian- Silk- and Palace tombs. We will end our day at Petra and board our bus and drive to our hotel in Amman for dinner and overnight.
This morning we transfer to the airport where we board our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading