6 Days Tour in Israel
Begin your tour in Israel spending 2 days in Jerusalem. Start on the Mount of Olives for an inspiring view of both the Old and New City. It was here that King David wept over his son Absalom’s rebellion. Also, Jesus made his approach to the Temple riding on a donkey from the Mount of Olives. There are several churches to visit on the mount:
Pater Noster, with the “Our Father” prayer inscribed in numerous languages, Dominus Flevit Church (The Lord Wept), and finally, the traditional site of Ascension.
The “Palm Sunday Road” is a path from the summit to the Garden of Gethsemane at the bottom, opposite the Temple Mount. In this garden, Jesus gathered with his disciples and prayed in moments of solace, as he did the night before his crucifixion.
Nearby are David’s City and the adjacent Hezekiah’s Tunnels, through which pilgrims often passed, singing psalms and emerging at the excavated Pool of Siloam, where they proceeded to wash before entering the Temple.
King David’s Tomb and the Upper Room, where Jesus had the Last Supper, are on Mount Zion. Christians have been gathering here for over 2,000 years. Throughout the Jewish Quarter, there are several archeological sites including the Hulda Steps to the Southern Temple entrance.
You can read Psalms 120 134 just as the ancient pilgrims sang. Below are the remains of the market stalls where Jesus scolded the merchants for their corruption at the Temple. The Western Wall Tunnel Tour follows under the Temple Mount, and passes the closest spot opposite the site of the Holy of Holies. It is traditional to place a written prayer within the crevices of the Wall.
Beginning at the Lion’s Gate, walk in Jesus’ footstep as he carried his cross following the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows). There are “Nine Stations of the Cross”:
1. Memorial of the trial and scourging of Jesus
(John 19:1 3).
2. Church of Ecco Homo (Pontius Pilate’s “Behold the Man” speech) over the pavement in Pilot’s courtyard
(John 19:5, 19:13).
3. Here is traditional place for the first of the “three falls” under the burden of the Cross.
4. The traditional place where Jesus whispered his heartfelt goodbye to his mother.
5. The memorial to Simon of Cyrene, who carried the cross, giving a short reprieve to Jesus (Mark 15:21).
6. Here, Veronica traditionally wiped away the sweat from Jesus’ face.
7. There is a tradition that speaks of Jesus falling here a second time.
8. The memorial where Jesus stops to speak to a group of pious and weeping women (Luke 23:28-29).
9. The traditional place where Jesus falls a third time before reaching Golgotha (Calvary), a traditional place of His Crucifixion.
Browse the Arab open markets on your way to the
Garden Tomb through Damascus Gate. Pilgrims enter the tomb through the “Weeping Room” next to the typical stone that the angels rolled away when Mary Magdalene, and others, came to anoint the body of Jesus.
The garden is a peaceful place where you can reflect on the day in prayer.
Spend your 3rd day in the Dead Sea area.
First are the remains of the Essenes community in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden in surrounding caves for approximately 2,000 years. Many scholars associate John the Baptist with this community, and Jesus may have even spent time here.
Continue south to Ein Gedi, the oasis where David hid from King Saul.
Next stop is Masada, the ruins of Herod’s palace made notorious in history during the 1st century Great Revolt against Rome. Here the Zealots, their families, and many Jewish refugees sought refuge from the Romans. If you want to hike up the snake trail be sure to get there early, perhaps making this your first stop after you leave Jerusalem. However, many prefer to take the cable car up to the summit and then hike down. Explore the palace remains, as well as cisterns, vast food stores, ritual baths, and the Synagogue built by the Zealots. From this height, you have a panoramic view of the Dead Sea and the surrounding desert wilderness.
Masada has a restaurant and gift shop to visit before finishing your day relaxing at the Dead Sea with its healing mineral baths. Here you will have the unique experience to rub mineral rich mud mined from the sea before floating in the buoyant salt lake.
On your 4th day, journey to the Galilee region through the Jordan Valley and stop at the ancient Israelite city, Beit She’an. Here the Philistines hung Saul and his sons after their defeat at the battle on Mount Gilboa.
Make a detour towards Nazareth and on the way, there is an observation point on Mount Tabor, which is considered to be where Jesus was transfigured. Nazareth is where Jesus spent his childhood and has a full scale reconstruction of the town life during Jesus’ time.
The Mensa Christi (Table of Christ) is where Jesus prepared breakfast over coals, awaiting the return of his disciples whom he sent back to fish again, instructing to cast their nets on the right hand side of the boat. You can envision Jesus learning the carpenter’s trade in
Joseph’s Carpenter Shop.
Finally, there is the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the traditional remains of the home where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Not far from Nazareth is Khirbet Cana, where the Jesus performed his first miracle—turning water into wine at a wedding. Stop for panoramic pictures of the Sea of Galilee from Mount Arbel, where Jesus often taught.
As you approach the southern tip of lake, visit Yardenit on the Jordan River. Among the possible sites for Jesus’ baptism, this is the popular site for pilgrims to be baptized. Finally, continue north to spend the night near the Sea of Galilee.
Start your final day at the kibbutz Ginosar.
The Yigal Allon Museum (Jesus Boat Museum) has an ancient wooden boat discovered in the Sea from the exact time of Jesus, so it is possible that Jesus sailed across the lake in this same boat, and you can even imagine Jesus calling his disciples to leave behind their catch and follow him, or perhaps see him as he stills the storm in the midst of the lake.
Then sail cross the lake to Capernaum from Nof Ginosar. Here you will begin to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, starting at the archeological remains of Peter’s home, where Jesus often stayed and healed many, such as the paralyzed man lowered from the roof. It was in this synagogue where he read from the scroll of Isaiah. At the Byzantine monastery of Kursi, you can imagine the odd sight of Jesus casting a legion of demons out of the possessed man and into the wild pigs nearby. Then there is the Chapel of the Primacy of Peter, where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. Tabha hillside is nearby, where Jesus performed the Miracle of Loaves and Fish.
End the day in a time of reflection on the Mount of Beatitudes.
Departure back home…