Day 9 – Monday, August 14: Wadi Qelt, Herodium, Bethlehem, Free Mid-afternoon in Old City


This morning was quite the adventure! In order to beat the heat, we left the hotel at 7:15 and drove back east to the Judean Desert. It was another great day that included hiking, an archaeological site, and an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem. We also had the opportunity to return to the Old City for shopping. We read from portions of Psalm 61-63 as we left the hotel.


Wadi Qelt/St. George Monastery

We drove around the northern end of there Old City and then east, descending down to the Judean Desert and the Wadi Qelt. Following a narrow desert road, we arrive at the St. George Monastery.  We viewed this monastery (that was built directly into the cliff) from above. We then  hiked down to it at the bottom of the canyon. We then continued on the trail that leads to Herod’s winter palace in Jericho. The heat grew in intensity when we got to here. This was where Herod the Great had a winter palace. We primarily saw the ruins of the bathhouse area. Zacheaus and Bartimaeus were from this NT site of Jericho.



Following the hike and visit of NT Jericho, we returned to Jerusalem. We drove through the city to Herodium, a palace-fortress built by Herod the Great. Following a short movie about the “Reception Room” (complete with amazing frescoes), we climbed the steps (165) to the top of the site. We could see the area of Bethlehem to the west, Jerusalem to the north, Tekoa (the home of Amos) to the south, and the Judean Desert to the east. We then walked down through the cistern system. Herod the Great was buried here in 4 BC. Archaeologist Ehud Netzer found the grave prior to his untimely death.


Beit Sahour / Shepherds’ Fields

Following a really good lunch in Beit Sahour (and eastern suburb of Bethlehem), we visited the Chapel of the Shepherds. We recalled the words from Micah 5 and Luke 2 about the birth of Jesus. We enjoyed singing a few Christmas carols too. The echo was amazing! We celebrated what Paul said in Galatians 4:4, “For just at the right time God sent His Son…”

“What an awesome and adventurous hike we did this morning! We walked down to Herodian Jericho through the Wadi Qelt! It was a unique experience!  Just think, both Jesus and John the Baptist spent time here! It is a dry and hot place in the summer!”
Herodium Guest Room May 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey


Lastly, we visited an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem. Owned by the Nissan Brothers, we saw how the wood is cut and carved into beautiful pieces of art. We enjoyed his store as well.


Old City

We returned to Jerusalem and our hotel. Some decided to end the day and rest back at the hotel, while others went into the Old City at the Jaffa Gate. We enjoyed dinner and a free evening. It is hard to believe that our last day is tomorrow!


Day 10 – Tuesday, August 15: Garden Tomb, Old City, Rampart Walk, Free Time, Israel Museum

Wadi Qelt St. George Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
NT Jericho Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Herodium Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Wadi Qelt St. George Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
NT Jericho Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Shepherd's Field Aug 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey

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