Be at Newark International Airport at least 3.5 hours before departure for the security and check-in procedures.
BLR = Bible Lands Resource: daily tracking & readings
BLR Tracker: p. 2 – Roads, Rivers & Crossroads.
Upon arrival proceed through passport control into customs. Use free luggage carts (3-4 on each cart) to exit and meet your guide outside the airport terminal. Depart for a brief visit to Joppa (Jaffa) before continuing to Netanya for dinner and lodging.
BLR Tracker: p. 6, #1, #2
NETANYA: Ramada Hotel & Suites
Regions: Coast of Sharon, Jezreel Valley, Sea of Galilee Depart for nearby Caesarea Maritima. In Acts 10 read about Peter’s encounter with the god-fearer Cornelius. Paul also stood here before Festus and Felix. View the Pontius Pilate Stone. Continue to Herod’s summer home, the stadium, the harbor and the Roman aqueduct. Depart for Muhraqa (Mt. Carmel) to consider Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal. Self-host lunch is available at a nearby Druze village. Descend Mt. Carmel for the Jezreel Valley and the sites of Megiddo. This is the site of the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16). Walk to the overview of the Canaanite circular bama (altar). Explore the ruins and descend into the water tunnel. Cross the Jezreel Valley and proceed to your lodging for the next five nights at Tiberias.
BLR Tracker: p. 6 – Coastal Plains
TIBERIAS: Leonardo Club Hotel
Circle the sea visiting sites of Jesus’ ministry. Depart for the Yarmuk River and ascend the Aphek Plateau for an unobstructed view of the Sea of Galilee from Kfar Haruv. Continue to Koursi (“demons into the swine”) and Bethsaida (home of Peter, Philip, Andrew). Visit the Mt. of Beatitudes, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7). Optional is a foot-descent to the seaside of Tabgha. Visit Capernaum, the center for Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Board the Jesus Boat, a double- scale replica of a Roman fishing boat, to sail the sea and enjoy some of the inspirational Bible geography references.
BLR Tracker: p. 6 – Mountains & Valleys, p. 7 Overview, #17 Jesus at Galilee, Rift Valley
Depart on the ancient Via Maris road to Chorazin (one of 3 cities cursed by Jesus), dwellings carved by volcanic basalt. Continue to Hazor (ancient crossroads, largest Canaanite city) for a brief stop. Proceed to Tell Dan. Walk into the Nature Preserve beside the roaring Dan River (Ps. 42) to Tell Dan (biblical Laish). View the High Place of Jeroboam. After a self-host lunch, proceed to Banias (Caesarea Philippi) to consider Peter’s confession of Jesus as Christ. Time permitting, visit the palace of Agrippa II. Return via Quneitra to view the Syrian border and continue to Tiberias.
BLR Tracker: p. 6 – Mountains & Valleys, Overview #4, #5
Return to the Jezreel Valley to visit the hometown of Jesus, Nazareth. Visit the Nazareth Village to explore the lifestyles of Jesus’ lifetime. Following orientation to the village, a complimentary lunch will be served. Ascend to Nazareth for a Mt. Precipice ridge view of Mt. Tabor and the Jezreel Valley. Visit Mary’s Well and the Church of St. Gabriel, as well as the Nazareth Synagogue. Walk to the Basilica of the Annunciation to view an archeological museum and excavations. Visit the nearby Sisters of Nazareth Convent to view a 1st Century burial site (tombs and roll stone) and Byzantine era cave-church. Depart Nazareth by way of Cana to consider the first recorded miracle of Jesus (John 2). Return to Tiberias.
BLR Tracker p. 7 – The Upper Jordan
Depart for Mt. Arbel for a dramatic overview of Jesus’ public ministry on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee. Motor to the Valley of the Winds below the Arbel. Here one may see the untouched hills and valley as a reminder of what it was like in the days of Jesus. Continue to the seaside ruins of Magdala for the archaeology of a 1st century synagogue. After lunch visit Ma’ayun Harod (Gideon) and descend into the Jordan Valley to Tel Beth Shean. Approach a Roman bridge to ascend the Tel for the presentation of the death of Saul, Israel’s first king. Descend to the reconstruction of Scythopolis, the leading city of the Greco-Roman Decapolis. Return to Tiberias.
BLR Tracker: p 8 – Lower Jordan
Depart for Dothan and Samaria (royal city of the Northern Kingdom) and Sebaste (King Herod). Continue to Nablus for Tel Balata and nearby Jacob’s Well. Continue to the site of Shiloh to consider the tabernacle of Joshua 18:1. Continue to Bethabara (Bethany beyond Jordan) for the excellent Israeli site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. Return to Jericho to consider the findings of Dr. Bryant Wood at Jericho’s wall. Depart for an oasis-like hotel at the Dead Sea for lodging.
DEAD SEA: David Dead Sea Resort & Spa
Visit Tel Arad and the ancient temple sites on the edge of the Syro-African rift. The north-south stretch of land from the tip of the Dead Sea to the Red Sea is almost 100 miles. Although not a desirable route for ancient caravans, the nomadic Bedouins found subsistence. Ride camels into the Arabah sands. The journey into Makhtesh Ramon is a window of explanations about the Bedouin ways, desert, and the famous spice route. The complimentary lunch will be in a traditional Bedouin tent, and includes traditional Bedouin service and stories. Some Bible scholars note that until one visits the wilderness the land of the Bible has not been visited, since 70% of Bible narratives involve the wilderness. Return to the Dead Sea.
BLR Tracker: p. 8, #20 – ARABAH
Depart for the Masada fortress and ascend via the tram. Explore the legendary last stand of the Jewish Zealots against the forces of Rome. Explore the dig which includes the Jewish synagogue and the Roman assault ramp. Descend to the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi (David and Saul) and walk the path to the waterfall. Visit Qumran to view the caves. En route to Jerusalem, detour on a Roman Road to the Wadi Qelt (reference to the Parable of the Good Samaritan). From the road, survey the cliffside St. George’s Monastery. Return to the highway to visit Lazarus’ Tomb in Bethany. Proceed to Jerusalem’s Mt. Scopus for a first view of the Old City and an ancient Genesis welcome. Lodging is in Jerusalem.
BLR Tracker: p. 8 – #19 Dead Sea, p. 6 Overview: Jerusalem
JERUSALEM: Ambassador Hotel
Visit the Mt. of Olives for orientation to Jerusalem’s Old City (Ps. 122). Walk on the traditional Palm Sunday route past the Dominus Flevit Church and continue to the Garden of Gethsemane. Proceed to the Dung Gate and ascend the Temple Mount to walk past the Al-Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Continue to the St. Stephen’s Gate to visit St. Anne’s Crusader Church and the Pool of Bethesda. Walk on the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Depart for the Judaean wilderness, the Herodion (Herod’s grave) and to view Shepherds’ Fields. Continue to Bethlehem’s Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity. Visit an olivewood shop before departure for Jerusalem.
BLR Tracker: p. 7 – #12 Judaean Highland
Region: Judaean Shephelah, Arabah
Descend Jerusalem on the Beth-horon Road into the Aijalon Valley (the sun stood still). Pass Nahal Sorek (Delilah) and arrive Beth-shemesh (Samson, Ark of the Covenant). Continue to the Valley of Elah. Visit Khirbet Qeiyafa (time permitting) to consider an early planned fortified city from the time of David. Ascend Azekah and reference the battle geography of David and Goliath. Depart for Hebron (conditions permitting) to view the extraordinary Herodian building, a classic structure illustrating the stone dressing of Herod the Great, the ancient master builder. Return to Jerusalem.
BLR Tracker: p.7 – #11 Judaean Shephelah, p. 8 – #20 Arabah
Proceed to the Dung Gate to see the joyful ancient tradition of Bar Mitzvahs this morning at the Western Wall. Proceed to the Ophel Ridge to walk on the Herodian pavement, view and touch the Temple foundation, and sit on the Temple steps from Jesus’ time, the one place where we know Jesus walked and taught (Lk. 19-21). Proceed to the nearby Hezekiah’s Tunnel, (bring old shoes for the knee-deep water) and walk to the Pool of Siloam (Jn. 9). Visit the lower Pool of Siloam. Explore the newly opened Pilgrim’s Road. Walking through the Western Wall Tunnel is subject to time confirmation.
BLR Tracker: p. 6 – Overview: Jerusalem
Visit the Jerusalem Garden Tomb. There will be time for personal reflection. Proceed to the Damascus Gate and walk through the shuq (old city) to the Western Wall. Continue to the eastern slope of Mt. Zion for the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantua. Ascend the Mt. Zion entry into the Old City to visit the Upper Room. Walk to the Cardo and Hezekiah’s Broad Wall. Enter the Wohl Museum to view the upper Jerusalem of Jesus’ time. Motor to the Israel Museum to view the biblical archaeology and the 1/50 model of Jerusalem in the Herodian period. Nearby is the Shrine of the Book.
BLR Tracker p. 3 – Mythologies & Philosophies, Greek & Roman Gods.
Proceed to the Ben Gurion Airport at Tel Aviv for the nonstop return flight to Newark.