Mount Vernon Nazarene University: Life Changing
Bible Trips

Itinerary: Israel & Jordan, 2016*

Printable Itinerary (PDF)*

February 28, Sunday:

  • Departure from U.S. gateway city to be announced, destination Tel Aviv, Israel. Meals will be served aloft.

February 29, Monday:

  • Arrival in Tel Aviv. Transfer to the Gilgal Hotel near the Mediterranean for dinner and overnight.

March 1, Tuesday: Caesarea, Mount Carmel, Meggido, Sepphoris, Tiberias

  • We drive along the Mediterranean to the coastal city ruins of Caesarea, ancient capital of Roman Palestine, where we see the theater, aqueduct, recently-excavated hippodrome, and Crusader fortress.
  • Then at Mount Carmel we visit the traditional site of Elijah's battle with the prophets of Baal and enjoy the sweeping panoramic view of the Jezreel Valley from atop the mountain.
  • We visit the ruins of Megiddo, the Biblical Armageddon, and see Ahab's stables and the famous water system.
  • We proceed to Sepphoris, traditional home of Anna and Joachim (the parents of Mary, mother of Jesus), and Mary's birthplace.
  • Our destination this evening is the Kibbutz Nof Ginosar along the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Dinner at the hotel.

March 2, Wednesday: Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha

  • After a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes, we travel north to the foothills of Mount Hermon and Banias (Caesarea Philippi), where Jesus said, "I will build my church..."
  • We travel back through the Golan Heights past Gadara, one of the Decapolis cities. Matthew describes the miracle of Jesus delivering demon-possessed men who were "of the country of the Gadarenes." We take some time to enjoy a lunch of St. Peter's fish near the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
  • This afternoon we visit the ruins of ancient Capernaum where the greater part of Jesus' ministry of teaching and healing took place. We'll see the ancient synagogue and the excavations of Peter's house.
  • We continue to Tabgha, the traditional site of the feeding of the 5,000; nearby we see the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter.
  • We drive past Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene.
  • We stop at the Kibbutz Ginosar to see the 1st-century "Jesus Boat," which was discovered in 1986 partially buried in the muddy shores of the Sea of Galilee.
  • A highlight of the day will be a memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

March 3, Thursday: Nazareth, Mount Precipice, Beit She'an, Jordan River

  • We begin our day at Nazareth, site of the boyhood of Jesus, for a visit to Mary's Well at St. Gabriel's Church, and the Church of the Annunciation, commemorating the location where Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel.
  • We go to Nazareth Village, the only enterprise of its kind dedicated to illuminating the life of Jesus through an authentically constructed, first-century town and restored ancient farm. It is in this venue that the stories of Jesus' childhood, ministry, and teaching are retold with elements of everyday life re-enacted.
  • Following our time here we go to Mount Precipice for breathtaking views of Nazareth and the Jezreel Valley.
  • From there, we travel south to Beit She'an, Israel's largest active archaeological dig site, and see the Roman theater, built in the second century. It is one of the largest and best preserved ancient theaters in the entire Middle East.
  • We continue to a baptismal site on the River Jordan before returning to our hotel for dinner and overnight.

March 4, Friday: Sheik Hussein Bridge Crossing, Jerash, Madaba, Petra

  • This morning we cross Sheik Hussein Bridge, enter the Kingdom of Jordan and travel to Jerash, a city of the Decapolis and one of the most important and best-preserved cities in the Near East. As we journey through mountainous Upper Gilead we see Tishbe, birthplace of the prophet Elijah, and Mahanaim, where Jacob divided his camp into two groups prior to meeting Esau. We may stop at Madaba if time allows.
  • We view the Jabbok Stream, where Jacob wrestled with a "man" who wrenched Jacob's hip socket.
  • From there we drive south among spectacular canyons to the marvelous "rose-red" city of Petra for dinner and overnight at the Petra Guest House.

March 5, Saturday: Petra

  • Today we have most of the day to explore Petra. The last mile of the journey is along a winding narrow path, the Siq, between two high cliffs. The entire city of rose-colored temples and amphitheaters is carved out of the multi-hued rock of the cliffs which surround its hidden valley. Explore the monastery, tombs, and other fascinating ruins of this remarkable city.
  • Leave Petra mid-afternoon and travel to Aqaba. Dinner and overnight in Aqaba at the Marina Plaza Hotel.

March 6, Sunday: Eilat, Beer'sheva, Dead Sea

March 7, Monday: Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Jerusalem

  • Visit Masada and ascend by cable car to visit the magnificent ruins of the fortress where Jewish defenders made the last stand of the Judean revolt against the Romans.
  • Drive to Ein Gedi to visit the oasis nature park.
  • Visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
  • Time permitting we have the opportunity to again swim in the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight at the Dan Jerusalem Hotel.

March 8, Tuesday: Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem

  • Drive to New Testament Jericho  (political situation permitting), believed to have been at the mouth of the Wadi Kelt, where Herod had his winter palace.
  • Drive by the Mount of Temptation.
  • Go to Bethlehem (political situation permitting) and visit the Church of the Nativity, built over the traditional site of the birth of Christ.
  • We drive by the Field of Shepherds, where the angel announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds.
  • We continue up to Jerusalem, the Holy City, for dinner and overnight.

March 9, Wednesday: Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Mount Zion, City of David, Dead Sea Scrolls

  • We drive past the Hebrew University and on to the Mount of Olives.
  • Here we visit the Church of Pater Noster, whose walls are decorated with 140 ceramic tiles, each one inscribed with the Lord's Prayer in a different language.
  •  We walk down the traditional "Palm Sunday Walk" where Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, stopping at the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive trees and the Church of All Nations.
  • At Mount Zion we see the traditional Room of the Last Supper.
  • Then we go to Caiaphas' palace, where Jesus was first brought before the high priest.
  • We then visit the City of David, the narrow hill near the Western Wall where Jerusalem "began." Here we view walls, towers, and fortifications that protected the city from enemies, pass through the water systems, see the Gihon Spring, and encounter the personalities and dwelling places of the city as reflected by archaeological discovery and in the Bible.
  • We conclude our afternoon driving past the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament building, to visit the Shrine of the Book, which houses the original Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • We also take some time to view the scale model of Jerusalem in the 1st century. We then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.

March 10, Thursday: Via Dolorosa, Temple Mount, Western Wall, Davidson Center, Garden Tomb, Tel-Aviv

  • We check out of our hotel this morning and in the Old City we follow the Via Dolorosa, seeing Pilate's Judgment Hall in the Antonia Fortress where Christ was imprisoned and concluding at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  • We visit the Temple Mount (political situation permitting), the holiest site in Judaism, for a closer look at the Dome of the Rock.
  • Nearby we view the Western Wall and pass through its tunnels, taking an awe-inspiring journey through time and gaining further insight into the complexities inherent in the relationship between Jews and Muslims.
  • We then visit the Davidson Center at the entrance to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, one of the largest and most significant archaeological sites in the country.
  • Nearby are the "Southern Steps," leading to the original main entrance of the temple mount in the Second Temple period. It is certain that Jesus climbed these steps when he visited the temple in Jerusalem.
  • We end our day at Gordon's Calvary and the Garden Tomb, for an inspiring service celebrating the resurrection of our Lord.
  • Later this afternoon we go to Abu Gosh, a Christian-Arab village built on a mountainside, and have time to explore and visit the shops. We enjoy a traditional Arab farewell dinner and then transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to the U.S.A.

March 11, Friday: Return to USA

  • We arrive back in the U.S.A. this morning and continue on to our hometown. Meals will be served aloft.
*All sites listed in the itinerary will be covered but the sequence and days may be altered to adjust to religious holidays, special closings of sites, air schedules, etc. Hotels listed are subject to confirmation. This tour is not recommended for those who have mobility limitations since it includes significant amounts of rigorous walking on uneven terrain. If a passenger is unable to get on and off the bus and walk without the assistance of another individual, the passenger must bring someone with them to assist them. Please note that the Americans With Disabilities Act is not applicable outside the USA and facilities in other countries may be sharply limited.
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