Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 10 Summary


Temple Mount and Jerusalem

The view of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Today was our first day in Jerusalem. The weather was overcast in the morning, but with sun and clouds in the afternoon, with temps in the 60s.

Driving around the north part of the Old City of Jerusalem, our first glimpse of the Temple Mount and Old City below was from the Mt. of Olives. Looking across the Kidron Valley we could see almost the entire city from here. Walking down a little further we read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about the Palm Sunday event and the prophecy about Christ’s return. Continuing down the slope we spent about an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a reflective time of contemplating the passion of Jesus who in this place said, “Not my will be yours be done.”

Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives

From here we walked into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s (Lion’s / Jericho) gate. Just inside the city was St. Anne’s Church and the Pools of Bethesda. We enjoyed the marvelous “echo” as we sang in the church. We also read John 5.

Walking the Via Dolorosa (mainly shops) to the Holy Sepulcher Church (one possible location for Christ’s crucifixion and burial), we visited the church inside and saw the newly-cleaned chamber that houses the tomb of Jesus.

Following lunch in the Christian Quarter, we walked out the Jaffa Gate and boarded our buses. Driving south and east about 8 miles, we arrived at Herodium. This was one of six “palace-fortresses” of Herod the Great. When he died in Jericho in 4 BC, his body was transported and buried here. It was discovered about 6 years ago. We walked to the top of this archaeological site and saw the towers of the fortress, the bathhouse, the synagogue, and the cistern system. On the way out we got a glance at the recently-revealed frescos that were part of the reception room to the tomb.

Tomb of Christ

The newly-renovated Tomb of Christ within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

Driving to Beit Sahor, we enjoyed a time of singing Christmas carols in a cave in the Shepherds’ Fields. We read from Luke 2 and Galatians 4:4 and celebrated that “just at the right time God sent His Son.” We also sang a few carols in the chapel as well.

We ended the day by stopping at an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem. Many purchased olive products made here from local olive wood.

We drove back to the hotel for dinner. Following dinner, most in the group enjoyed a special sound and light show at David’s Citadel. We was really well done.

It was a great first day here in Jerusalem!


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 9 Summary



Masada – “Metzada” – the “palace-fortress” of Herod.

Today would be a day spent in the Judean Desert! The day would be mostly sunny, with highs in the low-mid 70s. Perfect!

After a very nice sunrise over the Dead Sea and another hearty breakfast, we departed shortly after 8 a.m. for Masada. Located just 10-15 minutes or so north of our last night’s hotel in Ein Bokek, we ascended this 1,000 foot-high “fortress” (metzada in Hebrew, see Psalm 18:1-2) by the cable car. The story of Masada is quite amazing. Taking place between 70-73 AD, 967 Jews found refuge from the Romans here after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. Among the ruins here, we saw palaces, the casemate wall, the Roman ramp (on western side), the synagogue, and the bathhouse. A number in the group walked down the Snake Path (1.1 miles) to the bottom while others took the cable car. Masada was probably the “stronghold” to which David fled following the 1 Samuel 24 story with Saul.


Some of the many water falls of Engedi

About 20 minutes north is Engedi. This was our next stop. Walking back the Wadi David towards the water falls, we read from Song of Songs 1 (the “henna blossoms of Engedi”), 2 Chronicles 20 (Jehoshaphat and the ascent of Ziz), and 1 Samuel 24 (David and Saul in a cave). Many walked back to some of the waterfalls here. Water flows all year around from this spring (“Ein”).

Continuing north is the site of Qumran. This is where we ate lunch. However, over the lunch hour, some in the group hiked to Cave 1 where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 (this included the famous Isaiah scroll, among others). Following lunch we visited the ruins of Qumran. Here we saw cisterns, mikve (ritual baths), and the scriptorium. In front of Cave 4 (where the majority of the scrolls were found), we read from “Psalm 151” (one of a few “extra” psalms), as well as 2 Timothy 3:16 and Psalm 19. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls changed not only biblical scholarship, but also lives!


The retaining walls of Jericho (Joshua 6)

Our last archaeological site was Jericho. Located just north of the Dead Sea, we climbed the tel and remembered all the stories from the Bible relating to the Jordan River to the east (Joshua 3, John 1) as well as NT Jericho located 1.5 miles south (Mark 10, Luke 19). The NT site was also where King Herod died in 4 BC. We also recalled the story of Joshua 6 relating to the OT site that was conquered by Joshua at the end of the 15th century BC. Besides an old rounded tower found here (the oldest tower in the region, perhaps 6,000 years old or more), we also saw the reventment/retaining stones that Joshua saw. It was on top of these stone walls that a mud brick wall was placed. It was this mud brick wall that came ‘tumblin’ down’ with the trumpets! At the end of the telling of the Joshua 6 story, Jeremy blew his shofar (ram’s horn) to add to the story.

Wadi Qelt

Wadi Qelt and the Judean Desert

From here we drove nearly 4,000 feet in elevation towards Jerusalem. On the way, we made a brief stop at Wadi Qelt where we heard Isaiah 40 read and Psalm 23 sung. The imagery of these two passages in this Judean Desert came alive!

Upon reaching our hotel in Jerusalem, we checked in and enjoyed dinner together. Many in the group then walked to the Western Wall on our “orientation walk” through the Old City. We are excited to be here in Israel’s capital!


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 8 Summary


Wadi Rum

The desert of Wadi Rum, Jordan

This morning we left Wadi Rum. We were greeted by bright sun yet cool morning temps. The afternoon high would recover to about 70.

After loading the busses, we drove to the Rabin Border crossing back into Israel. With patient spirits, we proceeded through the usual security checks and passport control. Being greeted by David and Itzaq, our Israeli drivers, we loaded our buses and drove to the southern end of Elat. Here we entered the coral reef national park where we enjoyed the beach and the crystal-clear water of the beautiful Red Sea. A number of people went swimming among the colorful fish and coral.

The Red Sea

The Red Sea – Elat, Israel

About noon we drove north to Timnah. This was an ancient Egyptian copper mine in the 14th century BC. However, our focus was to visit the full-size model of the Tabernacle. We were guided by Allison, a Messianic believer. She made numerous connections with the OT Tabernacle (the altar, the laver, the Holy Chamber consisting of the Table of Showbread, the Menorah, and the Incense Altar, and the Holy of Holies containing the Ark of the Covenant) with how Christ fulfilled all the sacrificial requirements through His death. We read from Hebrews 9. It was an eye-opening lesson.

Traveling further north, we made a brief stop at Yotvata, a dairy kibbutz located hee in the Aravah/Rift Valley. Many enjoyed the ice cream!

Tabernacle Model Timnah

The Tabernacle Model at Timnah

Driving about 2 hours further north, we arrived at our hotel at Ein Bokek. Many experienced the uniqueness of floating in the salty waters (33% salt and minerals) of the Dead Sea. A wonderful dinner followed.


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 7 Summary


Treasury at Petra Jordan

The “Treasury” at Petra Jordan

This early morning we entered one of the 7 wonders of the world – Petra! The day would be mostly cloudy at first, but sunny by mid-morning, with temps in the 50s. We would spend around seven hours here in the heart of the Seir Mountains within the land of the Edomites.

We entered this ancient red-rose city by walking through the Siq. This is about a mile long. It led us to the first monument “The Treasury” (formally called “Al-Khazneh”). This well-preserved monumental tomb appears in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” It was most likely the burial chamber or memorial for the Nabatean King Aretas IV (see 2 Corinthians 11).

Monastery at Petra

The “Monastery” tomb at Petra, Jordan

A walk further down through the outer siq with all of its royal tombs and burial chamber brought us to one of the largest theaters in Jordan. Dating to the 1st century AD, the theater could hold about 3000 people. Some in the group enjoyed exploring some of these royal tombs.

An option was given to hike about 2.5 miles further out to the most western part of the city. The Monastery Tomb is located there. This was quite impressive as well. From here we could look back into the Rift Valley and Negev of Israel.

On the way back, some in the group added an extra hike up to the High Place. The walk was equally spectacular, providing a great view of the city below.

Wadi Rum jeep rides

Wadi Rum jeep rides

Leaving Petra in the mid afternoon, we boarded the bus and drove south to Wadi Rum. This was an area made famous by Sir Lawrence of Arabia during WWI against the Ottoman Turks. We enjoyed a jeep ride through this unique desert and a great sunset before checking into our Bedouin Village accommodations called Captain’s. We enjoyed dinner together (with the meat especially prepared underground) followed by a worship, a devotional, and Communion gathering under the star-lit desert sky. It was fantastic!

Today was a wonderful and unique experience here in Jordan!


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 6 Summary


Jerash Jordan

Standing by Hadrian’s Gate at Jerash, Jordan

Today we made our northern crossing into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Following breakfast we loaded our luggage on the bus and drove to the Sheik Border crossing. The procedures always require a “patient spirit.” However upon completing all the border formalities (and after some “challenge” to get brother Steve’s entrance approved for some unknown reason), we met our Jordanian guides (Sam and Omar ) and drivers. Leaving from here we drove about 1.5 hours to the largest of the Decopolis cities Jerash. On the way we passed Jabesh Gilead (Judges 21, 1 Samuel 31) and Pella.

Jerash theater

The theater at Jerash

Jerash is a huge Roman city. Probably 20,000 lived here in ancient times. Upon entering the site, we saw Hadrian’s Arch and the hippodrome. After eating lunch inside the site, we saw the Temple of Zeus, the agora (market area), the Cardo (main street), and the theater. Some in the group also walked to the northern side of the site to see the Temple of Artemis.

Boarding back on the bus, we drove past the Jabbok River (Genesis 32, where Jacob wrestled with God) to Mt. Nebo. Here we viewed into the Promised Land as Moses did before he died here. We read from Deuteronomy 34 and Joshua 1. We could picture Joshua leading his people across the Jordan River (on dry ground) to Jericho on the other side of the Jordan. We also visited the newly-reconstructed church here beautifully decorated with mosaics. Nearby we made a brief stop at a mosaic shop where handicapped people are trained.

Mt. Nebo

The view from Mt. Nebo

From here we drove about three hours to Petra (Wadi Musa). We checked into our hotel and enjoyed a late dinner before retiring for the night.

It was a great first day here in Jordan!



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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 5 Summary


Mt. Arbel

Mt. Arbel, located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee

Today was a day around the Sea of Galilee, called Kinneret in Hebrew. The temps warmed to the high 60s, with partly sunny to overcast skies.

Leaving the hotel at 7:40, Mt. Arbel was our first stop. 17 in the group hiked the trail (about a 800 foot ascent), while the rest of the groups approached the top by bus and a short walk. Although a little hazy, the view from on top was spectacular. We all could imagine Jesus on top here as well.

Magdala synagogue

The 1st century synagogue at Magdala. Jesus must have taught from here!

Driving back down through Tiberias, Magdala was our next site. This served as the home of Mary Magdalene. Among the ruins, we saw a 1st century synagogue here (one of only seven in Israel). Jesus no doubt would have taught from here! We also enjoyed singing in the newly-built chapel. The acoustics were amazing!

From here we drove to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee to a place called Yardenit. Here, 15 in the group re-affirmed their faith in Christ by being baptized in the Jordan River. Although the water was “cool,” it was a special time for all!

Following lunch (St. Peter’s fish), we drove to the NW corner of the lake to Chorazim. This was one of three cities condemned by Jesus. Here we saw a 3d century synagogue and a replica of the “Moses Seatfound here. We read from Matthew 23.

Baptism in the Jordan River

Baptism in the Jordan River

Down below on the shoreline was Capernaum, the “home base” city for Jesus’ ministry. Sitting in the 5th century synagogue (most likely, the 1st century synagogue Jesus knew was below), we read from Mark 1, 2, 9; Luke7; and John 6. All of these stories took place here. We also saw a 5th century Byzantine Church here. We enjoyed a quiet moment also on the shoreline as we remembered that the disciples were called by Jesus here (Mt. 4).

At Nof Ginnosar we saw the “Jesus Boat,” a 1st century wooden boat found here in 1986. This visit was followed by our own boat ride out on the lake. On the very calm waters we read from Mark 4 and Matthew 14. Praise God that we can cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us through the “waves and storms” of life! On the boat we also enjoyed a time of worship.

boat ride on the Galilee

Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee

We ended the day on the Mt. of Beatitudes. As the sun was setting, we reflectively read from Matthew 5 (in Hebrew and English) and considered these kingdom principles for our own lives.

Returning to our hotels, we enjoyed dinner together. We returned to our rooms, packing our bags for check-out tomorrow as we leave in the morning for Jordan!


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 4 Summary


Rabbi Abun

The reconstructed stone house of “Rabbi Abun” a Qatzrin

Today we traveled north to the Golan Heights. The weather in the morning was overcast and a big foggy, but in the afternoon we enjoyed breaks of sun. Temps were in the 50s.

Driving from the NW to NE corner of the Sea of Galilee, we made our first stop at an overview of the area of Bethsaida. This was the home town of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. We read from Mark 8 (blind man healed) and John 6 (Feeding of 5,000), two stories that took place here. We also considered Philip’s words – “Come and see” (john 1) in regard to seeing Jesus as the Messiah. We listened to The Lord’s Prayer before leaving this place.

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi

Next as Gamla. With the fog setting in, visibility was poor, limiting our view of this ancient Jewish city below. The city was involved in the 1st Revolt against the Romans in 66 A.D. A 1st century synagogue is located here, no doubt one from which Jesus taught. The only indirect reference to Gamla is Acts 5 that mentions a certain Judas the Galilean who may have been from here.

Qatzrin was our next visit. This was a Talmudic village (3rd-7th century AD or so). We gathered in a reconstructed stone house (very similar to a house at the time of Jesus) where we read from Mark 2. We could see the story of the lame man healed physically and spiritually here unfold! We also saw the synagogue here dating to the same time period.

After lunch “on the fly” (bananas and apples), we drove north and east to the Syrian border. Here we learned about the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria. We could see across the border to the Syrian town of Qunetra.

Tel Dan

The group at the nature preserve at Tel Dan

Driving west down of the Golan Heights, Caesarea Philippi was the next stop. One of the tributaries of the Jordan River (Banias) begins here. We read from Matthew 16 and considered the question Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” We walked up to the Grotto area where some of the pagan temples and ritual places once stood.

Close by was the nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan. Walking along the largest tributary of the Jordan through the wooded preserve was impressive. We stopped to listen to Shlomo play his recorder. We also read from Psalm 42 and enjoyed a quiet time of reflection. Entering the archaeological part of the site, we saw the high place established by Jeroboam. We read from Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12 about the pattern of disobedience displayed here. Upon leaving the site, we also saw a Middle Bronze / Canaanite gate (Gen 14 … used by Abraham perhaps) and the gate structure dating to the Israelite Period.

Lebanon border

The Lebanon Border

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Misgav Am. This is located ½ mile away from the Lebanon border. The view was spectacular, not only into Lebanon, but also Mt. Hermon and the Huleh Valley. We read about Abel Beit Maacah, an archaeological tel located below in the valley (2 Samuel 20) and heard some modern history about Lebanon.

Upon arriving back at the hotel in Tiberias, we enjoyed dinner together and a free evening.


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 3 Summary


Theater in Caesarea Israel

The March 2017 group in the theater of Caesarea

Today was our first full day in Israel. We were greeted with a sunny morning and mild temps. After breakfast we loaded the buses up and set out for Caesarea. This city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC was quite impressive. Sitting in the theater, we “connected the dots” with the Bible by reading from Acts 10 (Peter), Acts 12 (Herod Agrippa, Herod the Great’s grandson), and Paul (Acts 26). We also enjoyed singing here. Here in Caesarea we also saw the palace, the hippodrome, the harbor, mosaics, and part of the Crusader city built here in the 12th century AD. Before leaving the site, we saw the aqueduct that as used to bring water into the city from the Carmel Range.

Driving up to the Carmel Range, our next stop was to a Carmelite chapel located at the highest peak called Muhraqa (“burnt offering”). We read the story about Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal from 1 Kings 18. Other references were also shared about Carmel (2 Kings 4, Isaiah 35, Amos 9, and Songs of Songs 7). From the rooftop of the chapel we enjoyed our first view of the Jezreel Valley below. From here we could see the Nazareth Ridge, Mt Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31).

The valley of Armegeddon

The Jezreel Valley, Israel

Following lunch at a restaurant owned and operated by a Druze family, we visited Megiddo. This was a massive Canaanite and Israelite city in biblical days. Thutmose III, the Egyptian Pharaoh, conquered it. So did Joshua (Joshua 12) about 50 years later. Climbing the tel (“ancient mound”), we saw three gate structures (Middle Bronze, Late Bronze, and a Solomonic gate), stables, a Canaanite alter, and an Israelite granary. As it began to rain, we left the site by descending down 180 steps to the ancient water system.

After some heavy traffic, we finally arrived at Sepporis. This was the primary city in the Lower Galilee during the time of Jesus. Dogging the raindrops, here we saw some beautiful mosaics, one called the Mona Lisa of the Galilee. Towards the end of our visit, we were blessed with a beautiful rainbow over Nazareth!

Mona Lisa of the Galilee

The “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” 2nd century AD mosaic at Sepporis

We ended the day on the precipice of Nazareth. In full view of Mt. Tabor, the Hill of Moreh, and the Jezreel Valley below, we read from Luke 4. However, the lightning and rain storm shortened our gathering in a hurry as we quickly returned back to the bus. But to see Jesus’ “backyard” while growing up in this area was really special!

Driving to Tiberias we checked into our hotels and enjoyed dinner together and a free evening. Despite the afternoon rain, it was a great first day here in Israel!


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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Days 1 & 2 Summary

DAYS 1 & 2 – MONDAY – TUESDAY, MARCH 13 & 14

Ben Gurion Airport

The “Welcome to Israel” sign at the Ben Gurion Airport

Our day of departure finally arrived! Meeting at various departing cities, we boarded our flights en route to Israel the land of the Bible. Unfortunately because of the predicted winter storm along the east coast, a number of folks were delayed getting to Israel.

For those whose flights were on time, we landed this afternoon at the Ben Gurion Airport. Upon proceeding through passport control and getting our luggage, we loaded up our two buses and drove to Jaffa (also called Joppa). We simply walked the narrow alley ways and enjoyed a great view of the Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea coastline. We remembered the stories of Jonah (Jonah 1) and Peter (Acts 9 & 10).

Jonah's fish or whale

Jonah’s “fish” in Joppa

Fighting the Tel Aviv rush-hour traffic, we made it to Netanya. We checked in to your hotel, enjoyed dinner, and a brief orientation meeting that followed.

We are excited about being here in Israel and thankful to God for the experience that awaits us. We also hope and pray that the others who were delayed and/or canceled flights arrive here in a timely manner.


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March 2017 Israel-Jordan Tour About to Begin

Mt. Arbel and the sea of galilee

Standing on the top of Mt. Arbel, with the Sea of Galilee below

Israel and Jordan …. HERE WE COME!  Once more, God has drawn many folks (73 total) from around the country to join us for another life-changing trip to Israel, the land of the Bible!  In fact, this trip combines the best of biblical sites in Israel with the best of sites in Jordan as well. It is our prayer that this trip, like all others before, will be transforming in every way!

The trip actually begins this Monday, March 13th. Leaving from various departing cities, we are hopeful that we will all beat this predicted snow storm to hit the east coast on Tuesday. God willing, we will all arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel without anyone being delayed. We will meet our wonderful team of travel agents (from Amiel Tours) as well as our guides and drivers (Shlomo & David, and Ikey & Isaac). imagine Tours & Travel has done another outstanding job in coordinating all the details (flights, land arrangements, etc…) once again for us!  Throughout the trip, we hope to see around 50 sites connected with the Bible in some way!

map of israel

Map of Israel – the “playing board” of the Bible!

Some of the highlights of the tour will include the following:

  • Retracing the life and ministry of Christ at numerous sites in the Galilee and in Jerusalem. The Hebraic world of Jesus will serve as the context. We will learn the “playing board” on which the life of Jesus took place!
  • Connecting the dots” between what we read in the Bible and with what we will see. At both Old and New Testament sites, the Bible will come alive through learning about the historical, geographical, archaeological, and cultural background of the many stories from the Bible that we will read on site! People will learn more on this 13 day tour than they would in one year of Bible college! It will be that extensive!
  • Jerash, Mt. Nebo, Medeba, Petra, and Wadi Rum are the five sites we’ll see in Jordan. We hope to spend 6.5 hours in Petra (allowing us to see the Monastery and High Place), the red-rock city of the ancient Nabateans. We even will be spending a night in the desert of Wadi Rum in Bedouin tents. Devotions will be out under the desert sky and stars! We will even be doing some “jeep-riding” here.
  • Spiritual growth. On every one of our trips, we are intentional about not just learning “facts” and “information” about the Bible. Rather, we will spend time reflecting, worshiping, and growing in our faith and understanding of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Many I am sure will reaffirm their faith through being baptized in the Jordan River!
  • Jerusalem. This city is always the highlight. This is why we end here (vs. starting here as some trips do). We will see the Bible come alive here in amazing ways. Some of our experiences will include walking down the Mt. of Olives, meditating in the Garden of Gethsemane, experiencing the Old City, visiting the Western Wall and south-wall excavations of the Temple Jesus knew, and exploring the City of David. This includes walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel as well as sitting on the steps of the Pool of Siloam.  All this and much, much more!
Petra, Jordan treasury building

The “Treasury” Tomb at Petra

You can follow our day-to-day experiences by visiting THIS WEB PAGE.  Updates will be made around 3-4 p.m. EST.  The first update will be made on Tuesday, March 14th. We invite you to follow us, pray for us, and rejoice in God’s goodness with us as we experience the land of the Bible firsthand!  You also can be informed of updates on our Biblical Israel Tours Facebook page. Please “Like” the page. Doing so will be the best way to keep informed of not only the progress of the tour, but other blogs and posts made relating to Israel. This will be my 52nd Israel trip.

If you would like more information about any upcoming Israel tour with us, please complete the contact information on the web site or email us at  We will be more than happy to send you a packet of information about any trip that most interests you. We are here to serve you!

Jerusalem old city

Standing on the Mt. of Olives, with the Old City Jerusalem in the background!

Blessings and “shalom” in Yeshua Jesus!!

Dr. John DeLancey

Director, Biblical Israel Ministries & Tours

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