Imagine being able to experience places of the Bible while on a tour of Israel with your church family where you can tangibly witness everything you’ve learned through your studies of God’s word. On a January tour in 2022 we will take you along a variety of sites like that of the first miracle in Cana, along the Sea of Galilee in a boat replica like one that was used in Jesus’ day, the Garden of Gethsemane, Mary’s Well, the Church of All Nations and the remains of the Second Temple, amongst many more.
Also known as ‘the spring of the Virgin Mary’, Mary’s Well is the place believed to be where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary announcing that she would bear the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is located in downtown Nazareth along the main road. Today sits a modern version of the well as the original well house structure was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960’s. The ancient trough was used by women and animals for drinking water which came from natural springs and was an important source of running water during that time. Having fresh water was crucial for the villages and later in Roman times, a series of tunnels was constructed into the rock so that water could be distributed to the homes within the surrounding area. This fresh running water system was used throughout the ages.
Cana- Site Of The First Miracle
The site of the first miracle happened in Cana during a wedding. During this time frame, weddings were celebrated for seven days and were considered a family honor. Food and wine were supplied by the bride and groom’s families and flowed freely over the period of seven days. To run out was considered a dishonor to the family name as it implied that the hosts were thoughtless or impoverished. When Mary noticed that the wine was running low she went to Jesus and asked him for help knowing that if she couldn’t find a solution her family name would be shamed. As the bible tells us, Jesus took six jars filled with water and turned them into wine that was better than the wine that had already been served. This turning of water that was traditionally used for ceremonial cleansing into the best wine was a representation of the blood of Jesus that would later be shed for the forgiveness of man’s sins.
Sea Of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee is a lake set amongst the hills in northern Israel. From a distance, it resembles the shape of a heart. It is also one of the lowest-lying bodies of water on earth. Other names for it include the Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Chinnereth, Lake Kinneret and the Sea of Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake that is fed by the Jordan River as well as drained by it and serves as Israel’s main water reservoir though it can be limited based on the year’s water level. During the time of Jesus, more than 200 boats were known to fish its waters and export their catch-all over the Roman world. This is also the same body of water where Jesus is known to calm the storm and walk on water.
Garden Of Gethsemane
This garden is most famously known as the place where Jesus would spend his final hours in prayer before he was betrayed and arrested. To this day, olive trees line the garden and are a mark of history’s past. Olive oil was of great significance during this time as it was used for anointing oil, in oil lamps, for cleaning, cooking and medicinal uses. The name Gethsemane is composed of two words, Gat and Shemanei, which literally mean olive press. To this day olive oil is still pressed annually from the ancient trees that grow in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Church Of All Nations
Antonio Barluzzi was the Italian architect that built the Church of all Nations in 1924. Incorporated within its design is Islamic architectural features along with a Christian basilica in the front. On the same grounds of the church are remnants of a Byzantine church that were built in the 4th century and was later converted to a basilica by the Crusaders. Traces of this church can be seen inside through the most prominent aspect of the church is the presbytery and high altar which are behind a large piece of rock that is believed to be where Jesus prayed the night before his betrayal.
Remains Of Second Temple
The Second Temple played a major role in the life of the Jewish people as it was considered a holy site. Originally constructed by King Soloman in the mid 10th century upon the Temple Mount, a hill in Jerusalem known as ‘the place that the Lord will choose’, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Cyrus the Great later decreed about half a century later that the temple be rebuilt so that exiles who were driven out by the Babylonians could return. Construction of the Second Temple began in 521 B.C. and was completed in 515 B.C. Around 20 B.C. Herod the Great enlarged and refurbished the temple only to again be destroyed during the time of the rebellion against Rome leaving us today with the remains of the Second Temple; most prominently the Western Wall.
This is just the surface of everything you will learn and experience on this tour of Israel next January on the 17th through the 25th in 2022. Click the link below for more details.