Biblical Israel Tour Experiences for our 12 Day Israel Tour
Sept 10-21, 2019
Because of the two day delay of the majority of the group due to the British Air pilot strike, the official start of the trip for everyone – all 40 of us – was Tuesday, Sept 10, with everyone arriving by Sept. 11th. The trip is now updated through Friday, Day 11, September 20th. This will be the last update.
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Individual Tour Members
DAY 1-2, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: DELAYED FLIGHTS ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, DIRECT DRIVE TO JUDEAN DESERT
(Note: Due to the British Air pilot strike, this trip did not begin for all 40 of us that God brought together until September 10th. This caused the first two planned days to be canceled. We are hopeful that we will be able to make up these two missing days at the end of the tour. It is all dependent on the availability of air space through British Air. The original start date was September 9th.)
DAY 3 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, JERICHO, DEAD SEA
Today was the first full day of the trip for everyone!After an unique night at our “Bedouin Tent” hotel last, we enjoyed the entire day in the world’s lowest elevation, the area of the Dead Sea!
After breakfast and loading the bus, we first enjoyed camel rides in the Judean Desert. We then drove to Masada, a palace-fortress of King Herod built in the mid 30s BC. We read from Psalm 18:1-2 on the way, claiming God was our metzada, our “fortress.” Most in the group climbed up the Snake Path while others drove around to the eastern side and took the cable car to the top. On top we saw the western palace, a few cisterns, the casemate wall, storage rooms, the synagogue, and the bathhouse. Due to the heat, we all took the cable car down since the Snake Path was closed.
Driving to the north along the Dead Sea, Engediwas our next stop. Entering into the beaituflu canyon of Wadi David, we connected this location with the Bible. We read from Song of Songs 1 (henna blossoms of Engedi…), 2 Chronicles 20 (the Ascent of Ziz), and 1 Samuel 24 (David, Saul, and the “cave”). Most then hiked further into the canyon, enjoying the water falls along the way.
Contining northward, Qumran was the next stop. Following lunch here (it was crowded!), visited the site. The Essenes who lived here were the ones who scribed the Dead Sea Scrolls. First found in 1947, about 900 fragments of texts were found so far, including every book of the Bible! We read from “Psalm 151’ (a humble psalm of David food in Cave 11 in 1956) and Psalm 19. We rejoiced in the inspired Word of God ( 2 Timothy 3:16).
Our last stop of the day was Jericho. This was the first city conquered by Joshua (Josh. 6). Looking east we could see Mt. Nebo (Dt.31-34), the area of the Jordan River (Josh. 3-4), the area served by Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2), and the place of Jesus’ baptism (John 1). We also looked west up to the cliffs of the Judean Desert and remembered Jesus’ temptation here.We saw the oldest tower in Israel as well as the two stone retaining walls on the southern end of the site. It was the mud brick wall on top of this stone wall that “tumblin’ down” when Joshua encircled the city seven times and blew the trumpets/shofars. We celebrated the historicity of God’s Word!
We returned to the southern end of the Dead Sea, to Ein Bokek. Following this hour-long drive, we checked into a very nice hotel in Ein Bokek. We enjoyed dinner and floating in the Dead Sea!
What a great first full day here in Israel!
DAY 4 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: JUDEAN DESERT, SHILOH, BETH SHEAN, HIPPOS/SUSSITA, GALILEE
Today was our second full day of the trip. It would be another sunny day, with highs in the 90s. With the breeze and low humidity, it was pleasant. We covered a lot of territory as we drove from the southern end of the Dead Sea in the morning to the Sea of Galilee at the end of the day.
Judean Desert to Shiloh
We left our hotel shortly after 7:30. Following Rt. 90 we drove to the Jericho area before ascending about half way to Jerusalem. While seeing the Mt. of Olives in the distance, we turned north and drove on a unique road through part of the Judean Desert. We read from Jeremiah 13 as we descended down to the Desert of Parath. We then past by Michmash (1 Samuel 13-14) and Bethel (Genesis 12 & 28) before arriving at Shiloh.
Located in the Samaritan Hill Country, Shiloh is where the Tabernacle was for 305 years. Here we climbed the tel (ancient mound) to see the excavations. We read about Samuel’s calling from God (from 1 Samuel 3) and considered the challenging words of Jeremiah (Jer. 7). Standing in the area of where the Tabernacle was located and where Samuel heard the voice of God was special!
Continuing our unique drive through the hills and valleys of this region, we arrived at Beth Shean. Located along the Jordan Valley, this Canaanite, Israelite, and later Roman city played a strategic role in guarding the natural route into the Jezreel Valley to the west. First, we saw parts fo the Roman city, including the bathhouses, the agora (market place), the colonnaded street, many mosaics, and huge pillars (in 749 AD earthquake brought all these structures down). This Roman city reminded us of the parable of the Prodigal Son (perhaps it was a city like this to where the one son went after rebelling against his father?). Some then climbed to the top of the OT site where the bodies of Saul and his three sons were hung after their death (1 Samuel 31). Before leaving, we sat in the public latrine and walked through the massive Roman theater.
Driving north to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, we included an extra site not in our program. Hippos (or also called Sussita) was where we went. We climbed most of the site in the bus, but we still had to walk to the top of the site by foot. The Roman ruins here go back to the 2nd century BC. Later in the Late Roman/Byzantine Period, seven churches were built on top. From the odeon (small theater), our first panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee was incredible! We could see the entire length of the lake (13 miles long). We read from Mark 5 as the life and ministry of Jesus was introduced for us.
Driving around the northern end of the lake and then on to the western side, we checked into our hotel (Nof Ginnosar). Dinner was excellent. We even celebrated with Les and Barbara their 50th anniversary today! We look forward to an entire day of focusing on Jesus tomorrow in this Sea of Galilee area!
DAY 5– SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: ARBEL, JORDAN RIVER BAPTISM, MAGDALA, CHORIZIM, CAPERNAUM, MT. of BEATITUDES, ANCIENT BOAT, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, KINNERET CEMETERY
Today’s focus was upon Jesus! It was another sunny and hot day, with temps in the 90s. But at every site and experience we could walk in His footsteps. We could listen to His teaching. We could see him serve people. We could even imagine Him walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee.
Following a Shabbat breakfast, we drove to the trailhead of Mt. Arbel. We read Matthew 4 as we started the day (Jesus calling His first four disciples). 12 in the group hiked about 1.5 miles to the top of this cliff that overlooks the NW corner of the lake below. Other bussed around and walked up the western trail. The view was spectacular. Perhaps Arbel was the mountain where Jesus met His disciples following His resurrection (?, Matthew 28). Before leaving the top, a number of couples renewed their wedding vows!
From here we drove to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee to Yardenit. Here about 20 people renewed their commitment to be followers of Jesus. For a few, this baptism was their primary one, giving testimony of their faith in Christ. It was special for all!
Returning to the area north of Tiberias, Magdala was the next site. This was a city only mentioned once in the Gospels (Mt. 15:39). It was the home of a certain woman exorcized of seven demons, Mary Magdalene. Here we saw a 1st century synagogue. It was incredible to think that, no doubt, Jesus taught here! We also saw a few mikvot (ritual baths), the marketplace and the harbor before leaving.
Following a fish lunch, we visited the city Jesus used for his home base here in the Galilee, Capernaum (the village of Nahum). Sitting outside the 5th century AD synagogue, we read from Mark, 1,2, and 9; Luke 7 and 8; and John 6. Jesus taught here with authority (e.g. s’mekah in Hebrew). We also remembered that Matthew served as a port tax collector here (Mt. 9). Before leaving we spent some time on the shoreline of the lake. Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John in this area!
Climbing up to the hills further away from the shoreline, Chorazin was our next site to visit. The ruins date primarily to the 3rd century AD here. In the synagogue, we read from Matthew 23 as Shlomo sat in the Moses’ Seat. Our life-lesson learned here focused upon servanthood and humility.
Mt. of Beatitudes
Nearby is the traditional place called the Mt. of Beatitudes. It could have been here where Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount. He also taught these kingdom principles in the “plain” (Luke 6). Shlomo read the first part of Matthew 5 in Hebrew before we heard it in English.
Ancient Boat/Boat Ride on the Sea of Galilee
Driving back down to our hotel (Nof GInnosar), we saw the 1st century wooden boat found here in 1986. Next, we took our own boat ride to Tiberias. It was a nice time of worship and reflection. We read the two storm narratives from Mark 4 and Matthew 14 as the wind indeed picked up a bit, causing some whiter caps even! :). Jesus still can still our storms of life when we trust in Him.
Our last stop (and extra stop) was to the Kinneret Cemetery. This was one of the earliest Jewish cemeteries for some of the early pioneers to the land. We honored the life of Rachel Bluwstein, a Ukrainian woman who died in 1931. Shlomo read,sang, and played some of her poems put to song! Her poems still live on for modern-day Israelis. Her picture even appears on the 20 shekel bill.
From here we drove back to our hotel for late dinner and a free evening. What a great day it was retracing the life and ministry of Jesus!
DAY 6 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: GAMLA, QATZRIN, SYRIAN BORBER, MT. HERMON, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN, BETHSAIDA
Today was an interesting weather day, especially for September. While the sun greeted us this morning, when we were ascending Mt. Hermon around noon, it actually showered (the first unofficial rain of the fall). Then it cleared up as we came down the mountain. The rest of the day was pleasant, with highs in the 80s.
Driving around the north side of the Sea of Galilee and ascending the Golan Heights, we read from Matthew 13 on our way to Gamla. This was a prominent Jewish city 6 miles east of the northern tip of the lake. While the road down to the ruins was closed, from the top of the site we could see the walls, towers, and the ancient 1st century synagogue. Perhaps this was one of many synagogues where Jesus taught. We also saw a few of the endangered Griffon Vultures flying high above us.
Driving north, Katzrin/Qatzrin was our next site. In this Talmudic village (3rd – 7th century AD), we saw what stone houses of that day looked like. Sitting in the completely restored us of Rabbi Abun, we read from Mark 2. While this event took place in Capernaum, we could see it happening. Jesus not only heals this outcast paralytic, but also forgave his sins! We also saw the synagogue here.
Next, we drove to the border with Syria and looked into this war-torn country. As Shlomo shared about the 1967 and 1973 wars, we could see the city of Kuneitra and beyond. We learned how critical it is for Israel to maintain control of this strategic region.
We drove through a few Druze villages to get to the base of Mt. Hermon. We read from Psalm 42, 89, and 133, as well as Song of Songs 4 on the way. Today, a ski resort is here, with 4 lifts and about a dozen runs. For 6-7 months a year, this 7,300 foot mountain is snow-capped. Syria actually owns the highest peak of this mountain (9,200 feet). When we arrived darker clouds rolled in. Uniquely for this time of year, it actually started raining a bit. While going up the chair lift, the temperature dropped to the 60s as we were enveloped within the thick clouds. Unfortunately, since we could not see anything on top, we returned down the chair lift back to the bottom. At least the group will never forget this experience. 🙂
Driving down off the slopes of the Golan Heights, our next stop was Caesarea Philippi. It was in the region of this very pagan city where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16). Here, Jesus promised to His disciples that the church and the forward advancement of the kingdom of God would rest upon the ministry of the apostles! The Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17) may also happened somewhere on the slopes of Mt. Hermon nearby. At the Grotto of the site, we saw where the temples/shrines dedicated to Augustus, Zeus/Jupiter, Pan, and Nemesis were.
Nature Preserve & Tel Dan
Before driving back south towards the lake, we enjoyed visiting the nature preserve and archaeological site of Tel Dan. Walking along the water of this largest of three tributaries of the Jordan River, we paused to listen to Shlomo play a song on his recorder. We also read from and sang “Psalm 42” together. We continued to the archaeological part of the site. Sitting on the steps of the high place we read form Judges 18 and 1 Kings 12 about the patterns of disobedience displayed here. Looking across the border into Lebanon, Shlomo shared the current situation Israel faces with these northern neighbors. Before leaving the site, we saw a mud-brick Middle Bronze Period gate (maybe used by Abraham, seeGen. 14:14) and the Iron Age stone walls and gates of Jeroboam’s city.
Tel el Araj (Bethsaida?)
Driving south on the east side of the Huleh Valley, we arrived at our last site of the day, Tel el-Araj. This new archaeological site could be Bethsaida of the Bible. This small village was the home-town of Peter, Andrew, and Phillip (John 1). Overlooking the Early Roman and Byzantine ruins, we read from Mark 8 and Luke 9. It is believed that the Church of the Apostles (dating to the 5th century AD) was located here over the 1st century city of Bethsaida (later called Julius in 30 AD).
We drove a short distance to get back to our hotel for dinner.
DAY 7– MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16: SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, MEGIDDO, MT. CARMEL, CAESAREA, JERUSALEM
Today we were greeted by a wonderful sunrise and partly sunny skies. The high temps in the afternoon were in the high 80s. Jerusalem was cooler when we arrived at the day’s end.
After breakfast and loading the bus, we left the Sea of Galilee and drove to the Lower Galilee to see two sites. Sepporis, the largest Jewish city in the days of Jesus and only 4-5 miles from Nazareth, was our first site. After arriving here and seeing a model of the city, we walked on the Roman pavement to see a few mosaics. We then walked to the top of the site to see a more incredible mosaic called the Mona Lisa of the Galilee. No doubt Jesus visited this site, especially in his younger years.
Precipice of Nazareth
Close by, we battled the morning traffic to get to the Precipice of Nazareth. From here we enjoyed our first view of the Jezreel Valley. We could see Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 6-7), and Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31). We read from Luke 4 about Jesus teaching in the Nazareth synagogue. We also read from John 1 and listened to a song as we were inspired by Philip’s invitation to “come and see” Jesus anew!
Driving across the Jezreel Valley, we visited the Old Testament site of Megiddo. This site has about 25 layers of occupation/stratigraphy that span about 2,500 years of history. Climbing the site, we saw a series of fortification gates (two Canaanite and one built by Solomon, 1 Kings 9), walls, a storage house, a horse stables, a palace, and a grain bin. We exited the site by walking down through the massive water system.
From here we ascended Mt. Carmel for our last view of the Jezreel Valley from a place called Muhrakah (“burnt offering”). Here we read from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal and Asherah. We also read from or referred to 2 Kings 4, Songs of Songs 7, Isaiah 33 & 35, all mentioning Carmel. We then viewed the Jezreel Valley from the roof of the chapel.
Our last site to visit was Caesarea Maritima. Located on the Mediterranean Sea and built by Herod the Great in 22 BC, this harbor city was quite impressive to see. Sitting in the reconstructed theater, we read from Acts 9, 10, 12, and 26. Peter, Paul, and Philip were all here and shared their faith boldly. Herod Agrippa (who reigned from 41-44 AD) died here. Among the other ruins we saw the palace (with a fresh-water swimming pool), the hippodrome (for horses), mosaics, and the area of the harbor (used by Paul several times). Before leaving the site we saw a tall marble statue and the aqueduct that brought water into the city from the Carmel Range 5-6 miles away.
Following a 2 hour drive, we arrived at our hotel in Jerusalem. Following check-in and dinner, many in the group walked to the famous Western Wall. We all are looking forward to the next number of days here in the ancient and modern capital of Israel!
DAY 8 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17: JERUSALEM, MT. Of OLIVES, GETHSEMANE, OLD CITY, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
Today was the first full day in Jerusalem! The weather was perfect, with full sun and highs in the mid 80s.
Mt. of Olives
After a full breakfast, we left the hotel at 7:40, reading Psalm 122:1-2 on the way (“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forever more…”). Circling the western and norther side of the Old City, we arrived to the top of the Mt. of Olives. The view was incredible, with the entire Old City and Temple Mount in view. We read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about the kingship of Jesus and His 2nd Coming!
Garden of Gethsemane
We walked down the western slope and to a private garden where we read from Luke 22. It was somewhere around here where Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet Jesus said, “Not my will but yours be done…” We reflected upon Christ’s passion and obedience.
Old City – Pools of Bethesda/St. Anne’s Church
From here we walked up to the Eastern Gate and then into the Old City through the Lion’s (also called Jericho & St. Stephen’s) Gate to St. Anne’s Church. We sounded like a marvelous choir as we sang a few songs in the church. It has about an 8-second echo! On the same premises the Pools of Bethesda are located. We read from John 5 about the miracle that took place here.
Holy Sepulcher Church
Walking through the Old City was a challenge given the crowds of people. We finally made it to the Holy Sepulcher Church. Built in 325 AD, this marks the location of the traditional crucifixion and burial place of Jesus. We walked in the church on our own before lunch in the Christian Quarter of the city.
After lunch we walked to the Jaffa Gate where we met our bus. Driving southwest about 8 miles, we arrived at Herodium. This is an active archaeological site. It was where Herod the Great was buried after his death in 4 BC. We climbed this artificial mountain to see the ruins. The view of the surrounding area was fairly good, with Tekoa in full view to the south, the Judean Desert and Dead Sea to the east, Jerusalem to the north, and Bethlehem to the west. We exited the site by walking through the cistern system.
Our last site to visit of the day was to the Shepherd’s Fields. Descending down into a cave, we considered the role of the shepherd in biblical days! Caves like this were used by shepherds to protect their flock. We also reflected upon God’s redemptive plan of God in sending His Son “just at the right time…” (Gal. 4:4). We sang a few Christmas carols here in the cave and in the chapel. In Bethlehem we also visited an olive store and factory.
We drove back to the hotel for dinner and another optional walk. This time we walked south on the quiet Promenade.
DAY 9 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18: WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, DAVID’S CITADEL/HEROD’S PALACE, HERODIAN HOUSE, SHORASHIM, ISRAEL MUSEUM
Today was another great day, with fascinating sites! The skies were brilliantly sunny with highs in the mid 80s.
Western Wall/Rabbinical Tunnel
Our first stop was to the Western Wall. We read Psalm 48 as we drove here after a hearty breakfast (one that included waffles!). The Western Wall is the most holy place for Jews because it served as one of the retaining walls of the 2nd Temple. Most in the group walked down to the Wall. From here we visited the Rabbinical Tunnels. We saw massive stones placed there so precisely! We also saw miqvot (ritual baths) and even a small theater (called an odeon).
David’s Citadel / Herod’s Palace
Walking up to the area of Jaffa Gate our next stop was a unique one. David’s Citadel (mis-labeled by the Crusaders, for it has nothing to do with David) as it is called today, was the location of King Herod’s palace. After entering the site, we had the unique privilege to see the relatively new excavations of this area. This is an area not seen my Shlomo nor Pastor John before! It was quite fascinating and moving that perhaps we were in the area of the stone pavement where Jesus was condemned to crucifixion! We read from John 19 here.
Walking back down to the Jewish Quarter the visited the Herodian Mansion next. This was a series of 1st century Jewish homes. Today, modern buildings stand over them yet while preserving the ruins. Here we saw evidence of an affluent and priestly home. Perhaps this was the home of one of the high priests in the 1st century (?). The mosaics, the frescoes, the miqvot (ritual baths) were impressive.
Following lunch in the Jewish Quarter on our own, we enjoyed a conversation with Moshe at Shorashim. Moshe and Dov, two Orthodox brothers, open their store to groups like ours. It was interesting to learn about Jewish thought, practice, and belief.
We walked from Shorashim to the Zion’s Gate and out of the Old City to our bus driver was waiting for us. Driving towards west Jerusalem, our last stop of the day was to the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: a 1:50 scale-model of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Shrine of the Book (where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display), and the archaeological wing of the museum itself. Here we saw the highlights of important artifacts that have connections to the Bible.
We returned back to our hotel by 5:30. Following dinner some embarked on an optional walk to Ben Yehuda St for some shopping and modern Israeli social life!
DAY 10 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19: OVERLOOK & HIKE IN WADI QELT, FREE TIME IN OLD CITY, YAD VASHEM HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & MEMORIAL
Today was a mix of desert and city. Predictably for this time of year, it was another sunny and warm day, with highs in the high 80s.
Wadi Qelt / St. George Monastery
We left the hotel again at 7:30. We drove around the north side of the Old City towards the Judean Desert, reading Psalm 137 as we started this second to last day here in Israel (it does not look promising with British Air for being able to extend the trip by two days). First, We enjoyed an incredible overlook of the Wadi Qelt. Here we heard the word of Isaiah (Is. 40) echo through the desert. Shlomo also sang Psalm 23. It was a perfect backdrop for both passages. We even saw a gazelle.
We then drove further to the St. George’s Monastery. Built right into the cliff of the desert, this Greek Orthodox monastery has been here since around 500 AD. Some in the group descended down to the monastery and hiked on the trail that leads to Jericho.
Old City / Free Time
We drove back to Jerusalem from here. We wee dropped off at the Zion’s Gate. We walked into the Jewish Quarter for lunch and some exploring on our own. Some ascended the high tower of the Redeemer Lutheran Church for a great view of the entire Old City.
At 1:30 we walked out of the Zion’s Gate and were picked up by David. We drove to Yad Vashem (A “memory and a name” from Isaiah 56:5). This is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial & Museum. We first walked through the Valley of the Communities. We then drove to the main entrance of the Museum. Shlomo shared his personal story of losing 12 family members from Vilna, Poland. We also walked through the Childen’s Memorial and finally the museum itself. It was a somber experience as we remembered the 6 million Jews who lost their lives to the Nazi regime.
We drove back to the hotel at 6:15 for dinner and a free evening.
DAY 11 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20: CITY OF DAVID, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB
Today was the last full day of our trip here in Israel. Unfortunately, our two missed days at the start of the trip (due to the British Air pilot strike) could not be made up because of lack of airspace. The day would be another sunny day, with highs in the 80s once again.
City of David
Starting out at 7:30 again, our first stop was to the City of David excavations. We read from 2 Samuel 5 along the way about David’s conquering of the city of Jebus. After a brief teaching on the observation deck and a 3-D movie, we walked down through the excavations. First, we saw “Area G.” Ruins from the Jebusite and Israelite periods could still be seen. This included the palace of David which is believed to have been found on top of the slope. We talked about the “water shaft” (2 Sam. 5) and Hezekiah’s Tunnel (2 Kings 19, 2 Chr. 32, Is. 8:6).
From here we continued down the slope to Warren’s Shaft. The old theory is that this was the water shaft up through which David’s men infiltrated the city (2 Sam. 5). This theory is no longer held now. It was first discovered in the late 1800s by Charles Warren.
Hezekiah’s Tunnel / Canaanite Tunnel /Siloam Pool
At the bottom of the Kidron Valley is where the Gihon Spring is located. It was here where Solomon was initiated into kingship (1 Kings 1). This spring was heavily protected by a massive tower. Dividing into two groups, the majority of the group walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1 1,720 foot water tunnel that still flows with water), with others taking the “dry” Canaanite Tunnel. Both converged at the steps of the Siloam Pool where we read from John 9 in dramatic fashion!
South Wall Excavations
Our final archaeological site of the morning was at the South Wall Excavations of the Temple Mount. To get there, some walked through the drainage channel, while others bussed there. Here was saw original Herodian streets, stones, and walls. On the southern end of the Temple we saw the original steps that led into the Temple above. We read from various passages about Jesus being here and using these steps Himself. Peter’s Pentecost message (Acts 2) was probably also shared in this area.
Free Time / Garden Tomb
Shortly after noon we walked up to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. We enjoyed 2.5 hours of exploring on our own. Some hiked to the top of the Redeemer Church for a great view of the Old City below. From here we walked to the Garden Tomb for our closing worship and Communion service. This location serves as an alternative site for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. It was a special last gathering and time of worship here!
We drove from Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv area to our hotel. We enjoyed our farewell dinner together. We retired early in preparation of our early rise and flight home tomorrow.
DAY 12 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21: FLIGHT HOME & ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A.
As of 5:30 a.m. Israeli time, we are presently at the Ben Gurion Airport awaiting our flight home via London. Our flight is on-time.
Praise be to God for a life-changing experience!
Hike up Arbel
The hike up Arbel is a great experience. We ascend about 800 feet to the top of this cliff that overlooks the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee. The hike takes about 80 minutes. Even though Arbel is not specifically mentioned in the Gospels, no doubt Jesus climbed this mountain too. It may even have been the “mountain” where He met His disciples following the resurrection (see Mt. 28:16).