After a special Sabbath worship, we depart for our tour of Petra--the ancient capital city of the Nabataeans built sometime around the 6th century BC. Petra, which means "rock" in Greek, is a fitting name for this city surrounded on all sides by rocky cliffs and its magnificent tombs, sanctuaries, and dwelling place carved out of solid rock. Our journey to this spectacular city, known to most students in connection to the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, begins via a mile-long narrow gorge that emerges dramatically in front of the Treasury. The source of Petra's vast wealth was her control of the ancient trade routes that the East and the West. Unfortunately, when these trade routes shifted, Petra was deserted and forgotten for centuries. It was only rediscovered in 1812. Lunch, dinner, and overnight in Petra.
After leaving early from Petra, we head toward Israel. Before we cross the border, we will have lunch and then stop at Bethany beyond the Jordan, the place were John the Baptist baptized Jesus and others. We will conduct a special baptismal service that will allow us to experience the Bible story for ourselves. After crossing the border, we head to our hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv, Metropolitan Hotel.
Today we head off to the place where Jesus grew up, Galilee. On our way there, we stop at the site of Herod the Great's famous man-made harbor, Caesarea. Caesarea was the only harbor in ancient Israel. In addition to sailing in and out of this harbor during his missionary journey's, the apostle Paul was also imprisoned here for several years. Caesarea was also a key location for the Crusaders in the Middle Ages. Next we travel to Mt Carmel, where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. Our final stop is the little town where Jesus grew up, Nazareth. Here we will visit Nazareth village, an open air museum that reconstructs and reenacts village life in the Galilee in the time of JesusDinner and overnight at the Ron Beach Hotel in Tiberias.
We spend today touring the ancient sites around the Sea Galilee. We begin by taking an early morning hike on the Jesus Trail, a path that will allow us to see what it would have been like to have followed Jesus around the hills of Galilee. After walking to Ginosar, we will see the Jesus Boat, a ancient fishing boat that dates to the time of Jesus. From here we will board a modern boat for ride to Capernaum. Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum was the hometown of the Apostle Peter, and the place where Jesus healed a paralytic and Peter's mother-in-law (Mk. 1:21, 29). Jesus made Capernaum the main base of his Galilean ministry. Today a church stands on the spot where Peter's house was supposedly located. The house does date back to Jesus' time and appears to have been a sacred site by the mid-1st century. Our last stop will be to the little city of Chorazin. Along with Capernaum and Bethsaida, Chorazin was one of the three main towns where Jesus conducted his ministry in Galilee. Dinner and overnight at the Ron Beach Hotel.