Roots of Faith

In the steps of the ancient people of Israel and Jesus the Messiah, we'll travel from the Sinai wanderings, through the heartland of Israel, and up north to the source of the Jordan River. The whole of the Land will be our spiritual classroom as we seek to understand God’s message to His people, both in those ancient days and our own.

 

Day 1: ARRIVAL IN THE LAND OF PROMISE

Transfer to Yad HaShmona, a Messianic Jewish moshav in the Judean hills west of Jerusalem.

Overnight: Yad HaShmona Guesthouse

 

Day 2: INTO THE WILDERNESS WITH THE PATRIARCHS

We shall spend our first part of the morning at the Biblical gardens of Yad HaShmona where we shall study the imagery Jesus used in parables. From here we will travel to the Valley of Elah, the location of the battle between David and Goliath. We continue our journey in the steps of the Patriarchs to the southern desert region called the Negev in the Bible (a name it still carries today).  Here we visit Tel Beersheva, one of the most impressive and ancient fortified cities of the Kingdom of Judah. Our next stop is a Bedouin museum where we examine their nomadic culture in order to shed light on the lives of Abraham and the Patriarchs. We conclude our day traveling through the Wilderness of Paran to a spectacular view over the Ramon crater where we discuss the importance of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt in Jewish religious thinking and its influence on Jesus and the Gospels.

Overnight: Mitzpe Ramon

 

Day 3: OUT OF EGYPT INTO THE WILDERNESS

We begin today looking over the beautiful Ramon crater. Here we consider the true location of Mount Sinai and study the geology of the area at the Mitzpe Ramon Visitors Centre, followed by a visit to the Desert Zoo. Traveling through the wilderness of Zin where Moses struck the rock in disobedience we discuss the lessons which we today can learn from this incident. In the afternoon we stop at the ancient caravan city of Avdat to discover how the ancient Nabateans made the desert bloom. We will take a short hike to a beautiful oasis in the Zin Canyon. We will be seeing the area of the home of the founder of Israel David Ben Gurion at Kibbutz Sde Boker.  As Ben Gurion is often called a prophet, we will take time to discuss the nature of biblical prophecy and the role of a prophet in the biblical period and today. Our last stop of the day is Tel Arad, a pre-Abrahamic major city and later an Israelite fortress. 

Overnight: Arad

 

Day 4: THE DESERT AS A REFUGE

We begin the day at Masada, one of Herod the Great’s magnificent fortresses and the last Jewish stronghold to fall captive to the Romans. Here we will discuss the nature of the Herodian dynasty and Zealot ideology. On our way back north we will see the beautiful subtropical oasis of En Gedi before making our way to the site of Qumran, home to probably the most exciting archaeological discovery ever made in Israel – the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here we will discuss the relevance of the scrolls and their impact on Christianity. We will finish our day enjoying a float in the therapeutic mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea.  After stopping for an overlook of Jericho – the oldest and lowest city on earth, we make the final ascent to Jerusalem – the City of the Great King.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 

Day 5: WORSHIP / FREE AFTERNOON

We are free to enjoy worship at Christ Church in the morning and a free afternoon in Jerusalem to rest or explore.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 

Day 6: DISCOVERING JERUSALEM IN THE TIME OF JESUS

Our day will be devoted to learning about Jerusalem in the Second Temple era. An early start will take us up to the Temple Mount, where we’ll consider some of Jesus’ activities there. We then make our way through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City to palatial mansions which were the home of the Sadducees. Here we study Jesus’ attitude toward the priesthood and Sadducee beliefs. After a visit to the Western Wall, Judaism’s most holy site, we complete our day at the excavations at the southern wall of the Temple Mount where we discuss Pentecost. After dinner we will take a night trip to the tunnels under the Western Wall plaza, affording us an exciting opportunity to walk in Jerusalem at what was street level in the time of Jesus.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 

Day 7: IN THE STEPS OF JESUS - CRUCIFIXION, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION

In the morning we will visit a tomb from the time of Jesus. We will enjoy a panorama of the Old City from the Mount of Olives, and then walk down to Gethsemane where we will learn about crucifixion, burial and resurrection according to Jewish sources outside of the Bible. This will shed new light on the narrative of the heart of the New Testament, the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Time permitting we shall visit the Sisters of Zion Convent, the possible location of the Antonia Fortress.  In the afternoon we will explore the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and conclude our day with a time of prayer and reflection at the peaceful Garden Tomb, This evening we will complete our understanding of the role of the Lamb of God by celebrating a Jewish Passover meal together at Christ Church.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 

Day 8: RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN

We will travel to a viewpoint that overlooks the hills of Ephrata. From here we shall see Bethlehem and the possible location of where shepherds first heard of the advent of Messiah. The morning will be spent in Bethlehem visiting Christ’s birth town and a mission seeking to minister to the impoverished in the area.  There will be a stop for shopping and lunch. In the afternoon we shall go to Yad VaShem, the Israel Memorial Museum to the Holocaust. Here we examine the spiritual and theological roots of the most notorious genocide in history and the connection between the Church, Jesus and the Jewish people prior to and during this period of time. There we will also visit the Children’s memorial and discuss the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Christian relations today.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 

Day 9: THE JORDAN VALLEY - FIRE AND WATER

Today we examine the separation of the Church from the Jewish people. Leaving the hills of Jerusalem we make our travel north up the spectacular Syrian African rift to the Galilee.  Along the way, we learn how that very conflict was instrumental in renewing various kinds of Jewish settlement in the Holy Land throughout the last 200 years. Our first stop is Tel Jezreel, the site of King Ahab’s winter palace and Naboth’s vineyard, where we will engage in a quiet walk to the Ein Harod spring, where Gideon elected his small army. Next we travel to Kibbutz Alfa to examine a beautiful mosaic of a very early synagogue floor. Here we will study the reasons of the separation of the early Jewish church from its Gentile siblings.  In the afternoon, we visit Beit She’an. At the Jordan River, we will discuss the ministry of John the Baptist and his relationship to the ministry of Jesus. In the evening we shall visit Beit Bracha, a CMJ centre on the shores of Galilee where we’ll hear about the work of the ministry.

Overnight: Sea of Galilee

 

Day 10: EXPLORING THE GOLAN - THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND BIBLICAL IMAGERY

Three major sites will occupy our time together today. We begin by visiting a reconstructed biblical village at Katzrin where we will examine life in New Testament times and everyday imagery in Scripture.  We then climb up to the magnificent Golan Heights nearby to Israel’s highest mountain. Here we will discuss the Transfiguration and its relationship to the Hebrew Scriptures. At the Gamla nature reserve we will view an impressive city from the time of Jesus and take a gentle hike to the highest waterfall in Israel. There we will study some wildlife, including one of the world’s biggest birds; we will discuss how this bird is depicted in the biblical text. Then we continue to the nearby nature reserve of Dan. During a walk through the reserve, we will discuss biblical imagery such as living water and visit the Old Testament city of Dan.

Overnight: Sea of Galilee

 

Day 11: AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE - THE LIFE OF JESUS’ DISCIPLES

Our day will be spent visiting various sites around Lake Galilee as we try to picture the Galilee ministry of Jesus and the lives of His disciples. We will start the day with a view from the traditional site of the Mount of Beatitudes where we’ll study together about the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ teachings. Our next two stops will be the “cursed” cities of Chorazin and Capernaum whereby we will discuss Jesus’ relationship to the Pharisees. Along the way we will seek to understand the New Testament fishing industry of these places and their relationship to the miracles of Jesus. After a fish lunch and a contemplative time by the shores of the Lake we will visit Kibbutz Ginossar to see a fishing boat from the time of Jesus. From there we will set sail on the Lake before heading back to our hotel.

Overnight: Sea of Galilee

 

Day 12: LIGHT TO THE NATIONS

Today we focus on the political, social and religious turmoil existing prior to and during the first century C.E. We visit the site of ancient Nazareth and see how this climate influenced Jesus’ home life, town and early ministry. On our way to the coast we travel the route of the ancient Via Maris, passing through the Jezreel Valley, a candidate for the location of the battle of Armageddon. We will devote the journey to discussing Jewish apocalyptic literature and the Book of Revelation. At the spectacular remains of Sepphoris we will examine Jesus’ relationship to Elijah and His first miracle.  The afternoon will be spent in Akko, an amazing example of the Crusade era.

Overnight: Haifa

 

 

Day 13: FROM THE PROPHETS OF BAAL TO THE FORMATION OF ISRAEL

In the morning we shall visit Mount Carmel for a spectacular view over the North of Israel. Here we will study Elijah’s defeat over the prophets of Baal.  On our way down the coast we stop at Atlit to visit the three year period of history between WWII and the establishment of the modern State of Israel.  Our day will conclude at the fabulous remains of the Roman city of Caesarea Maritima, the location from which Paul left the shores of Israel and set sail with the Good News to the Gentile world.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 

Day 14: THE HOPE OF RESTORATION

We begin our day in Tel Aviv, in Old Jaffa, seeing Cornelius’ house and contemplating Jonah’s story and complete our morning at Beit Immanuel, the CMJ ministry center in Tel Aviv. Here we will learn of CMJ’s involvement with the Jewish people and the numerical growth of the Jewish believers throughout the last decades.