Personal micro group Spiritual Journey through Israel
All stops mentioned below are flexible as to what is going on in the land and how quickly we move as a team.
October 18-29, 2023
note: Some of the locations below are clickable for more info. The itinerary will remain flexible throughout our time. No location stop can be guaranteed, as is the nature of travel.
Day 1 (October 18th) Travel Day (Wednesday)
Board your international overnight flight sometime in the afternoon or evening. and fly, fly, fly
Day 2 (Oct 19) Arrival Day! (Thursday)
Fly and fly then grab your luggage and meet up in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport around 5pm in the main arrivals hall. Get into our car and ride into ancient Joppa (Tel Aviv) on the coast (that you just flew over) and check into A23 Boutique Hotel for the night and enjoy a shabbat dinner welcome. If anyone is feeling like getting out, we can try a walk to the beach or enjoy a walking tour that includes a stop at the door to Simon the Tanner's house (people live there so we can't go in). This hotel also has bicycles available if you feel like a pedal along the coast.
Day 3 (Oct 20) - Port and To Galilee Day (Friday/erev Shabbat)
After a delicious Israeli buffet breakfast, we will pack up and check out of our Tel Aviv hotel by 8:15. Ride over to explore Caesarea, an ancient port city. We'll make a short stop to see the still-standing ruins of the ancient Roman Aqueduct at the Mediterranean shore. We will continue east inland to Mount Carmel for a mom-n-pop shop ethnic lunch where you can order off the menu then head further up the mountain to see the site of the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Ba'al overlooking the Valley of Armageddon. We will pass Nazareth on our way to a leisurely hike of Mount Arbel to take in our first view of the Sea of Galilee from above. Then we will descend into Tiberias and check into our VRBO apartment accommodations (2 one-bedroom apartments) with a view for the next few nights.
Day 4 (Oct 21) Christian Sites around the Sea of Galilee Day (Saturday/Shabbat)
After a nice Israeli breakfast, we will visit the Jesus-Biblical sites today. We will start with a contemplative time at Magdela, the hometown of Mary Magdalene and a 2009-discovery of a 1st-century synagogue where Jesus would have preached! Then on to St. Peter's Primacy, where Jesus cooked the fish breakfast and Peter found forgiveness. Then on to Capernaum to see Peter's home near a 300-B.C. Synagogue.
We will enjoy another quiet contemplative stop at the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the sea. On our way back, we'll stop to see the Jesus Boat Museum and take a 50 minute "cruise" on the Sea of Galilee. (The stops' order today will be determined by our sailing time and weather-influenced port).
Check out this video of the 2019's experience of this day here.
Day 5 (Oct 22) Northern Israel & Modern War Stories Day (Sunday)
After breakfast, we will drive north and visit Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus asked Peter, “But who do you say that I am?” and discover the significance to His phase “and the gates of hell will not prevail against (the coming of the Kingdom).” Then drive to a 30-minute stair-hike to hidden Banias waterfall. Then head over to a short raft down the Jordan River at Kfar Blum. (Assuming water is still a good flow this year, will confirm once in country). Anyone who would like, may be baptized (again or for the first time) by a person of your choice during our route in the Jordan River can. And we will take commemorative photos. We will head up Mount Bental to the Syrian border and see Mount Hermon and do some intercession and coffee/tea or lunch.
If there is time in the evening en route home, we might stop to climb the ruins of Nimrod’s Castle. We'll enjoy dinner in Tiberias and some free time on the boardwalk before driving back to our apartment. Team worship & debrief on the rocky shores of Galilee--bring your flashlight.
Day 6 (Oct 23) Transfer to the Dead Sea (Monday)
After we tidy and check out of our apartment this morning, we will head toward the Dead Sea, south of us. Along the way we will stop at Bet She'an, where once David went in to remove the bodies of King Saul and his sons, later this Roman Baths spa-city became a haven for the Christian community until it collapsed and was frozen in time by an 8th century earthquake. From here we will drive a few more minutes over to Gan Ha Slosha, an Eden-like paradise of green lawns, turquoise pools (swim or wade if it's decent weather) Grab some lunch form the snack bar if you want. We continue driving south past Jericho and enter the Judean Wilderness, and our ride will drop below sea level by 600+ meters! After checking into our resort hotel, Leonardo Inn Hotel, for the night. You'll have a few hours to explore on your own, soak in the pool, relax in the property's many lounge chairs, or enjoy a long Dead Sea float before dinner. Team meeting out on the shores of the Dead Sea to view the same sky as Abraham when God promised him descendants as plentiful as the stars of the sky. (You can get back in the water after if you have the energy). Generous breakfast and dinner buffets at this resort are included.
Day 7 (Oct 24) Desert Wilderness Day (Wednesday)
Enjoy a bountiful Israeli breakfast (best of our trip, you don't want to miss this one for a few minutes of sleep!) Pack up the bus for our first stop: Masada (video), Israel’s last stand in 73 AD. [You may take a strenuous climb up the “snake path” (no snakes) in 40-50 minutes ~1800 feet from the valley floor; it is very hot. Or take the cable car to the top.] We’ll learn the story of Herod’s Fortress in the Desert and tour the massive grounds. Then we head north along the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul and hike up to David’s waterfall. Bring wet/dry sandals for hiking and a bathing suit because you can climb into any number of enticing blue pools or waterfalls and the desert air will dry you off before you return to the van!
Then we return for free time to enjoy the resort amenities and another Dead Sea float. Book a spa appointment for this afternoon if you're interested. Another magnificent dinner at the resort tonight.
Day 8 (Oct 25) Transfer to Jerusalem (Thursday)
We begin with another bountiful breakfast, packing the van and then tootling a few miles up the coastal mountain road to Qumron where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We continue before turning toward Jerusalem. Where we may stop for a steep hike (or hire a donkey) to see the monastery clinging to a cliff side a.k.a. "the Valley of the Shadow of Death" and where Jesus' temptation is said to have occurred. You'll have a chance to meet some Bedouin peddlers who sell their wares at the top of the cliff. Another 25-30 minutes of car time as we "go up to Jerusalem" and read the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 121-136) together just as they did in the ancient days. We will unload and check into our VRBO Boutique Apartment and have some settling in free-time. We will go to a local-favorite restaurant for dinner and explore Ben Yahuda Street shopping and local life in the evening.
Day 9 (Oct 27) Jerusalem Underground Day (Friday, erev Shabbat)
We're going to pack today as full as possible because everything closes by 3-ish. (Pack snacks so we can eat on the go today, or have a later lunch). We start with a 10-minute walk through New Jerusalem’s streets over to the Old City's Jaffa Gate then we climb up the ramparts to walk on top of the Old City Ramparts (walls), over Zion Gate and then walk out the Dung Gate to the City of David (active archaeological dig video) & submerge into a 533-meter underground tunnel containing the Gihon Spring up to 2.5 feet deep in Hezekiah’s Tunnel. It's very close quarters (as small as 20 inches wide in some places & definitely watch your head!) for nearly 1 KM in the water, and completely dark so bring a flashlight or headlamp with your water shoes today--no flipflops or crocs! If you’re claustrophobic or just need a break you’re welcome to grab an ice cream or coffee and chill or talk to some locals on the shaded patio and wait. We will come out at the Pool of Siloam and take a taxi back up to the entrance of the City of David. By 12: noon we need to be at The Western Wall to go back underground at the Rabbinical tunnels for our 12:20 tickets, and come out in the Arab quarter, possibly find a falafel for lunch, and stop by the pool of Bethesda and sing a song in the beautiful acoustics of Saint Anne's Church when they reopen at 2pm. We’ll do some grocery shopping for dinner ingredients enroute back to the apartment. We will cook Shabbat dinner together at the apartment and linger over sharing our experiences on our balcony.
Day 9 (Oct 28) Shabbat in Jerusalem (Saturday/Shabbat)
After breakfast on your own, (big walking day!) then we walk the Christian and Arab side of the Ramparts walk to Damascus Gate while interceding for the sons of Ishmael to see the Living God as their own Savior. At Damascus Gate we climb down and head to the Garden Tomb for a British-guided tour and enjoy the quietude of the Garden where we will see the empty tomb, view the Place of the Skull up close, and have some alone time with the Gardener of our Souls. From there we will get two taxis to the top of the Mount of Olives, walk down to the Garden of Gethsemane then climb back from Hinnom Valley past the Southern Steps where Jesus and His disciples taught, on our way over to Caiaphas's house to see the cistern where Jesus was held before his crucifixion. Then we continue uphill to Zion Gate where we will go to the Upper Room for some "Come, Holy Spirit" time and stop by King David's tomb (not much to see, but to say you were there). Then we'll wend through the old city streets for another spectacular view and take some personal time at the Western Wall (Live video feed) (a.k.a. “Wailing Wall,” but please don’t call it that) for prayer for the Nations and contemplation.
After the sun sets and restaurants open back up we will enjoy our dinner together. And a leisurely walk back to the apartment.
Day 10 (Oct 29) Finale Day (Sunday)
We'll take a slower morning today to finish packing up then head back into the Old City to visit the Temple Institute and the Archeological Park at the Western Wall where we can walk and sit at the Southern Steps. If the Tower of David is fully open again (restoration in progress) we can decide as a group which two of three of these stops we want to make together.
In the mid-afternoon we will enjoy a finale (early) dinner and a last walk back to have one last wine or coffee on the apartment balcony, pick up your luggage and meet your ride to the airport between 7-10 pm (depending on flight time.). You will join a shared taxi bus to Ben Gurion Airport back near Tel Aviv and pass through about 15 security checks as “together” as possible and board your flight home between 11:30 pm and 3:30 AM. Then you fly, fly fly! Should be home to your port city by evening on Monday (Oct 29). (Longest day ever--especially if you have to go back to work Tuesday morning.)
About two weeks later...
After returning home, we will have a final team meeting and debrief about our time together to help you process all the Lord has added to your heart!
This group will be limited to a total of 8 active people.
1. Following Jesus' ministry route, starting in the desert, up to the Galilee, and ending in Jerusalem
2. We will drive around in a 9-passenger van together.
3. Spiritual development through spiritual formation exercises and team meetings to build relationship while we are traveling.
4. Avoid typical tourist traps.
Land only = $3880.00*
Flight: plan for ~$1250-$1400 from a major port city
we accept checks & see below to pay online
$3880 Full trip payment
$3880 + 116.40 admin fee= $3996.40 total for the trip using inline payment.
If you need help arranging your flight, just let us know. Payment on that is separate and will need to be paid at time of purchase. Plan for spring or summer 2023 to purchase flights.
Easy Payment Schedule:
$1000 due with each application
$1000 due June 1, 2023
Final $1880 due August 19, 2023. (~60 days ahead of travel).
credit card purchases add 3.5% to the cost of each payment as these prices do not include any office or admin fees.
There is a ton to learn and catch up on, even if you know your Biblical history. This will be like a college level course, so we require some pre-req. reading or video-course watching so we all have an equal grid of understanding when arriving in Israel.
You'll need to purchase trip insurance to ensure your travel, trip interruption, or emergency medical evacuation insurance. You can contact your personal insurance specialist or try our favorite here: Travel Insurance.com.
Check out our packing suggestions here! Due to van space, we are limited to one checked bag and one carry-on sized bag. We suggest a backpack that rolls for ease of transiting long international terminals.
We will have 1-2 team meetings on Zoom or live before we leave the country to prepare you and get questions answered.
Lunch and snacks are on your own. We suggest bringing a box or two of protein bars in case lunch is delayed by our adventures. We don't want any one to get hangry!