Pictures from Israel and Jordan

Jesus and the Kingdom of God

A Pilgrimage to The Holy Land and Jordan

Led by:

The Rev. Sam Craven
Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church
Houston, TX

May 9 - 22, 2009

Trip map

DAY 1, Saturday, May 9, 2009 - Depart Houston for the transatlantic flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.  Dinner on board the aircraft. D

DAY 2: Sunday, May 10, 2009 - We arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport where we meet our guide and driver and transfer south to our spa kibbutz on the shores of the Dead Sea.  Here we will have our “welcome to Israel” dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 3: Monday, May 11, 2009 - The Judean Wilderness:  We leave our kibbutz and travel south into the Negev Desert stopping at Tel Arad which is divided into a lower city and upper hill which holds the only ever discovered “House of Yaweh” in Israel.  In this area, 1st settled 4000 BC, a large Bronze Age Cannanite settlement has been discovered.  We continue to Beersheba (ancient Beer Sheva), the city of the patriarchs where Abraham made a covenant with Abimelch.  Now on to Avdat, the largest Nabatean city in the Negev which reached its height during the Byzantine era.  We continue south, visiting Sde Boker to see Ben Gurion’s hut and grave, overlooking the magnificent Zin Valley.  We return to Ein Gedi to have dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 4: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - We drive along the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, to Masada, the isolated mountain-top fortress about 440m above the banks of the Sea.  Masada was first fortified as early as the 1st or 2nd century BC and then enlarged by Herod the Great.  We visit Qumran where the Essene sect lived and where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  We cross the Jordan River into Jordan for dinner and overnight in Amman. BD

DAY 5: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 - A day to explore the Red Rose City of Petra which some historians equate with Sela, a town in which the Israelites had a famous victory over the local Edomites.  We will have the choice to walk to the site or to take a carriage ride through the dramatic “siq” or canyon.  We will see the Treasury, carved in pink stone, and continue past the Roman Theatre, the Corinthian Tomb and Palace Tomb.  As we continue we see the theatre, the Roman Soldier Tomb, the Columbarium and much more as we make our way to the High Place of Sacrifice located at the top of Jabal Mount.  The High Place of Sacrifice is considered to be the oldest major cultic facility in Petra.  We visit the museum and, for those who take the 60 minute walk to the Monastery, they will be rewarded with the best sites in Petra.  We return to Amman for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 6: Thursday, May 14, 2009 - Today we visit Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promised Land and see the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Judean Hills beyond.  We will visit the site that is believed by many to be the true location of the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist.  We will repeat our baptismal vows here before again crossing the Jordan River into the Holy Land.  We continue to the area of the Sea of Galilee for our dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 7: Friday, May 15, 2009 - We have come to see for ourselves (John 1:45-46):  Herod’s City-Caesarea; The Majesty of Carmel; Armageddon.  We visit the Roman and Crusader remains and the harbor from which St. Paul was taken prisoner to Rome.  We continue toward Mt. Carmel (Is. 35:2), a symbol of strength, beauty and fertility for OT prophets. Traditionally, Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal is located at Muhraqa (‘the sacrifice’), a peak offering a spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley.  This fertile valley, also known as the plain of Megiddo, has been the scene of horrible carnage and almost constant strife.  Legend portrays this area as the stage for the final battle of history:  Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).  The excavations at Megiddo have uncovered a fortified city built by Solomon (1 Kgs. 9:15).  We will also visit Beth Shean to see the best preserved Roman-Byzantine town in Israel.  Beth Shean lay on the old trade routes between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean.  We return to the area of the Galilee for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 8: Saturday, May 16, 2009 - “He is going ahead of us to Galilee” (Mt. 28):  The Sea; Capernaum; Tabgha; Korazin; Mount of Beatitudes.  We will visit Magdala, birthplace of Mary Magdalene, follower of Jesus, witness to his crucifixion and first to witness his resurrection.  We continue to Capernaum where we shall walk in the ancient synagogue and see St. Peter’s house.  We will celebrate Holy Eucharist at Capernaum before we visit Tabgha where we will see the mosaics of the Loaves and Fishes.  From Tabgha we will take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee back to Tiberias.  Afterwards, we will journey to the Mount of Beatitudes to rehear the Sermon on the Mount and then we will hike down to the shore of the Sea of Galilee as Jesus and his disciples would have done.  We visit the museum that holds the 1st century boat discovered in the mud around the sea of Galilee.  Dinner and overnight the Galilee. BD

DAY 9: Sunday, May 17, 2009 - We depart for Nazareth to see the Basilica of the Annunciation where, tradition holds, the grotto beneath the church was the home of Mary and the site of the Annunciation.  Archaeological evidence proves that this is the site of the original village of Nazareth. We visit Nazareth Village, a reproduction of the village where Jesus was born which affords us the opportunity to experience life in the Holy Land during the time of Jesus.  We will continue to Mt. Tabor, the traditional spot of the Transfiguration.  The Church of the Transfiguration incorporates two chapels; one of Moses and one of Elijah.  We continue to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. BD

DAY 10: Monday, May 18, 2009 - The Passion:  Palm Sunday Walk; Dominus Flevit; Church of the Agony; Garden of Gethsemane; Cave of the Olive Press; Kidron Valley to the House of Caiaphas.  We will walk along the Palm Sunday Path and visit the garden that is a part of Gethsemane.  From here we shall move on to walk the Via Dolorosa, winding through the busy markets of the Old City.  We shall end our walk at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, scene of the Crucifixion and site of the Tomb.  After dinner, those who wish may visit the Scottish Hospice where a consortium of Arab women sell their handmade wares.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 11: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - Through St. Stephen’s Gate to the Holy City, we walk to St. Anne’s Church, standing on a property facing the Temple Mount.  Once inside we find ourselves singing (the acoustics are glorious).  Nearby, we visit excavations which speak to us of Jesus’ healing at the “pool with the five porticos.” We walk together to the Temple Mount Dig, to the Dome of the Rock, to the Western Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter.  We will visit the ancient excavated cisterns that were found under the Old City and explore the excavations of the Temple Mount Dig.  Near Jaffa Gate, we will explore the Citadel, known as the “Tower of David”, dating from the 2nd century BC.  Pontius Pilate was almost certainly housed here and it is here where Christ was most likely tried and condemned and taken to be crucified.  We visit the Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem to learn the history of the Citadel.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

Day 12: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 - We depart for Bethlehem for a visit to the Church of the Nativity under which is a cave venerated in the writings of St. Justin Martyr as the birthplace of Jesus around 160 AD.  We will visit St. Catherine’s Church to see the grottoes of the Holy Innocents which contains the tombs of St. Joseph and St. Jerome.  We will visit Shepherd’s Field and then have lunch at a wonderful Arab restaurant called Two Mustaches before returning to Jerusalem for a visit to the House of Caiaphas, site of the imprisonment of Jesus prior to his crucifixion.  We will meet with some local Palestinians in the Old City.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BLD

DAY 13: Thursday, May 21, 2009 - New Jerusalem and Ein Kerem:  We will see the Knesset this morning and then visit the Israeli Museum where we will see the Shrine of the Book which contains the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other important artifacts.  There will be some free time this afternoon for exploring your favorite sites in the Old City on your own.  We will enjoy a gala farewell dinner together tonight.  Dinner and overnight Jerusalem. BD

DAY 14: Friday, May 22, 2009 - We will depart from Ben Gurion Airport for our flight back into Houston arriving in the afternoon.  Breakfast and meals on board the aircraft. B

Price: $4,129.00 Price is based on double occupancy without airline taxes.  Roundtrip air from Houston, TX.  Air transportation available from other cities.  Single supplement $1,100.00.

Final Payment due March 15, 2009

Deposit of $300.00 per person due prior to February 1, 2009.

Cancellation Penalties
◊ December 1 – February 1 - $100.00 per person plus any unrecoverable expenses
◊ February 2 – March 14, $200.00 per person plus any unrecoverable expenses
◊ After March 15, 2009: NO REFUND

An application for travel insurance will be included with the receipt for your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you seriously consider this coverage.

Meals: B Breakfast, L Lunch, D Dinner, S Snack

The itinerary is subject to change due to local conditions or at the discretion and direction of the leader or guide.