In the past couple months, we have imagined Jesus in various settings and situations in and around Jerusalem. We pictured him coming down from the Temple Mount across the Kidron Valley and into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray . . . And then we have envisioned him teaching at various places around the beautiful Sea of Galilee . . . but imagine seeing the land of Jesus for yourself.[picture is from atop the Mt. of Olives looking across the Kidron Valley to the old city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mt.]
My first trip to Israel was in November, 2016, and the experience impassioned and emboldened me, expanded my thinking and grew my faith immeasurably. That trip was with a large tour company chosen by my church, and while it was wonderful, we were not taken to either Bethlehem or Nazareth, (not uncommon for the larger tour companies). In addition our 2016 Israeli guide was friendly and experienced, but not a believer in the Messiah, which limited her view of things--from prophecy to its fulfillment in Jesus, the written accounts of the gospel writers and of course all of the teaching of Paul on living the Christian life.
My second trip to Israel was February 2018 with Christians United For Israel. Again - no Bethlehem, no Nazareth, no Christian guide or viewpoint on the ground. However, the trip was very informative and educational about the military, political, religious and cultural forces at play in Israel - both now and historically. As leaders, we were encouraged to take groups back to experience the Holy Land.
So in 2019, I took one group in February and another in November from various parts of America. Our Israeli guide, Ezer, was the package - knowledgeable, friendly, experienced and a Christian; believe me, it made a difference. In addition, we were able to experience both Bethlehem and Nazareth, where Jesus grew up.
We opened the Bible in each of the places we visited - our faith was made sight!
Note: when touring Israel, there are three key players in your experience:
1) the Israeli tour guide in the land--and it is a bonus if he has served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Ezer is a second-generation guide and an IDF reservist
2) the teacher who crafts your trip and teaches (that is me!)
3) the experienced Israeli bus driver who navigates quite a bit
I am so excited to invite you to go with me again ... In my 30 years of teaching the Bible, nothing has informed my thinking as much as seeing the land of the prophets, the land where Jesus was born, grew up, taught, died and rose again.
Journey to Israel ~ February, 2023
Led by Christine DiGiacomo
and engaging Israeli guide, Ezer!
February 5 ~ 14, 2023
Sail on the Sea of Galilee ...pray in the Garden of Gethsemane ... stand atop the Mt. of Olives. Visit the massive Temple Mount complex, pray at the Western Wall...
There is no place on earth as meaningful or electric as Jerusalem, though I love the old town of Tiberias where we stay on the Galilee.
Would you like to go to Israel and see the land yourself?
It is the historian's dream to see the ancient land,
an archaeologist's fantasy to see the ongoing excavations
unearthing thousands of years of civilization
the buried layers of earth revealing names and places found in the Scripture. It is beyond fascinating.
The first part of the trip will be concentrated around the magical Sea of Galilee and will include the Mount of Beatitudes - the site of the Sermon on the Mount;
Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and Capernaum where Jesus founded his ministry and taught and did the miraculous.
We will visit the Jordan River where you will have the opportunity to be baptized.
Magdala ~ this is a fantastic recent 'dig' that defies description--one of my favorite places. It is the recorded place where the woman with the 'issue of blood' reached out and touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was healed because of her faith. (Friend, do you need a touch from God right now? Perhaps you need to reach out and touch the hem of Jesus' garment, yet today . . . now.)
Then there's Cana, site of the first miracle of Jesus, and on to Nazareth.
Mt. Carmel - where we will enjoy the superb view from the rooftop of the Carmelite monastery... recall the courage of Elijah.
View the valley of Megiddo.
Second part: Jerusalem! There is nothing like going 'up to Jerusalem'! The ascent fills you with a sense of anticipation which does not disappoint.
Along with Jerusalem, we will go to Bethlehem - the Church of the Nativity.
Wilderness of Judea, passing by Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
Cable car up to the dramatic site of Masada which Herod built . . .
Float in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth.
Explore mysterious Ein Gedi, nature preserve - where David hid from Saul, wrote many of the psalms.
We will explore The Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, the Via Dolorosa,
walk the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane . . . and so much more, including the Pools of Bethesda.
Please think and pray about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, then hit 'reply' and I will send you the details.
There is nothing like a trip to Israel - to walk on the land, to see the water, experience the people, life, etc. Let's go together.
Hoping and praying I will hear from you!