a blog that might interest you - reflecting on the experience, what we learn, how we grow, why it's so profound.
We fly into Tel Aviv, one of the most beautiful and surely the most secure airport in the world. We make our way then to the north, where we spend the first three days exploring Nazareth, Capernaum, and other places where Jesus taught, healed, called the disciples, and even fished.
Further north, we will see the Bronze Age city of Dan, with its impressive walls - and most fantastically, the city gate through which Abraham himself walked.
Just a short hike downhill from there we come to a marvelous waterfall, right at the source of the Jordan River - and likely the place where Psalm 42 was composed. This is one of my favorite days.
Mostly likely we'll end the day at BinTal, a high overlook where we can see the Road to Damascus, and into Syria and Lebanon.
But now our attention turns toward Jerusalem, just as Jesus' did midway through the Gospel stories. On our way to the holy city, we visit Beth Shean, where King Saul died, and where the 1971 Jesus Christ Superstar movie was filmed.
We stop by the edge of the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized by John - and we seize the occasion to have a service of baptismal remembrance. It is so very moving to wade into that river.
We'll zig down to the south for a day to see the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth - and where you float without even trying.
Finally we make our way to Jerusalem, where King David built his palace, where Solomon built the temple, where Jesus taught and healed, and was crucified.
We will pray at the Western ("Wailing") Wall, a holy moment indeed. We'll sit on the steps Jesus walked on to enter the temple to teach. In Jerusalem we will visit the Israel Museum, which contains fabulous archaeological finds from Bible times.
We hopefully will visit the Dome of the Rock, the beautiful 8th century shrine built over the place where the temple stood for centuries. Of special interest for us will be our visit to the archaeological site where excavations are being conducted by our own UNC-Charlotte.
The climax of our time in Jerusalem will be walking the Via Dolorosa, the traditional pilgrim's walk commemorating Jesus' trial and crucifixion. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses both the place where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb where he was buried, and rose from the dead.
I hope you will come with me!
Here are a few more photos of interesting things we'll see.
1500 year old olive trees grown from the shoots of olive trees that stood in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed there.
The aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima by the Mediterranean Sea.
Palm trees by the Dead Sea.
The traditional spot where Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Stones from the temple from the time of Jesus.
A fishing boat archaeologists discovered and miraculously preserved - from the time of Jesus.
A statue by the Sea of Galilee commemorating Jesus sending Peter to "feed my sheep."