Israel is a beautiful country shrouded in mystery, and if you are planning on visiting the Holy Land with the intention to visit the places where Jesus Christ walked, you are in for the experience of a lifetime. First, you will want to find a great company that offers Christian tours to Israel; beware of those bargain-basement tours because some are “questionable” and you don’t want to have to be put in a position to “turn the other cheek” if you pay money and the bus never shows up. For the best Israel Christian tours experience look for an all-inclusive company with an established history that offers airfare, hotel, and tours. You will also want to ask the travel company if the tours include these must-see landmarks synonymous with your Christian faith.
Bethlehem–Home of the Baby Jesus
Perhaps one of the best-known accounts from the Bible’s New Testament is the story of Jesus’ birth, which is why Bethlehem is a top Israel Christian tours destination. It has everything: the annunciation, King Herod ordering the death of male Jewish babies because it was foretold the King of the Jews was going to be born, and fleeing to Bethlehem where the Messiah would be born in a manger. When you go to Bethlehem be sure to visit the Church of the Nativity, and Shepherd’s Field–where angels appeared before some shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. When you break for lunch a favorite restaurant for tourists and locals alike is Afteem for their falafel, or Abu Eli for authentic Middle Eastern Food. In fact, both restaurants are so good you would swear a star in the sky showed some wise men where to partake of delicious vittles well worth a pinch of frankincense, a dab of myrrh, and a gold coin or two.
Nazareth–The Childhood Home of Jesus
Located near Mount Tabor, Nazareth is not only a beautiful place but also one brimming with Christian must-see hot spots. Be sure you see Mary’s Well where an angel appeared to her and informed the Virgin she would be giving birth to the Savior. Megiddo National Park is also an ideal place for those to visit who wish to meditate or pray in the natural landscape where Jesus and his disciples gathered. You can also visit Cana and see where Jesus turned water into wine at a party that had some pretty cranky guests. St. Joseph Church offers a more intimate experience compared to some of the larger churches, and contains ancient baths. When researching Israel Christian tours be sure the company offers dining options. If you plan to eat in Nazareth visit Tishreen where you can enjoy a fusion of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Israeli cuisine with farm-to-table ingredients.
Mount Zion–Amazing Views from a Holy Place
Mount Zion is the highest vista in ancient Jerusalem, and is a must-see Israel Christian tours destination for two main reasons: it is where you can visit the tomb of King David, and see the spot where Jesus and his disciples had their Last Supper. Mount Zion is so beautiful that, according to some historians, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ordered to have the Old City’s walls built, and when Mount Zion was excluded from the zoning, he was so enraged he had the laborers beheaded. Be sure you also see Dormition Abbey, a Benedictine settlement. Finally, pay a respectful visit to the grave of Oskar Schindler–a spy and member of the Nazi party who saved the lives of more than 1200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Though not known to be included in Christian tours, many Christian visitors stop at his grave and reflect on Schindler’s selfless and dangerous act to do the right thing and help his fellow man–a message that is central to Christianity. In fact, the Nation of Israel even declared him a Righteous Man.
The Garden Tomb–A Place for Reflection with Israel Christian Tours
This is one of the locations considered to be a likely spot where Jesus was buried, and is known as a place for reflection by many guests who take popular Israel Christian tours. Visitors are invited to explore its double chambers, and reflect on Christ’s sacrifice. The site is surrounded by some beautiful gardens that offer rest in between excursions. This picturesque landscape is also a great place to have a picnic, and it is a popular destination for prayer groups as well as individuals who wish to strengthen their faith through thoughtful prayer.
The Sea of Galilee–Making One a Fisher of Men
Not only is the Sea of Galilee a stunning place of natural beauty nestled in a region rich with volcanic soil that produces some amazing local wines, it is also where some of the most famous miracles took place. The Sea of Galilee is steeped in Christian history. One day right along its banks Jesus was out for a stroll and saw the brothers Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew casting their nets into the sea, where upon he spoke the famous lines, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”, to which they dropped their nets and followed.
The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus taught his disciples the meaning of strong faith by calming the storm, and where Christ fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Another great local inspirational story of faith came when Jesus walked on water and called to Peter to follow him. Peter began walking on the water towards Jesus, but upon seeing the wrath of the sea, he became nervous and started sinking and calling out for the Lord. Jesus reached out and took his hand saying, “You little-faith”, they boarded the boat, the weather went calm, and Peter said “You truly are the Son of God.” When visiting the Sea of Galilee through your Israel Christian tours itinerary, allow yourself to reflect on your own faith. Many have said that taking a Christian tour to the Holy Land has strengthened their faith and brought them closer to God.
Consider Extending Your Stay in Israel
If you are going to Israel to experience the origin of Christianity, Israel also offers a number of other attractions and has a rich, beautiful culture worth exploring if you have some extra time to spare in your travel plans. Tel Aviv is roughly a 30-minute drive from Jerusalem. Many say that visiting Israel’s capital is like finding a slice of Europe in the Middle East. Tel Aviv has an amazing night life, is a progressive leader in the tech industry, and is known for its pristine beaches, as well as being the smartest city in the world. Ask your Israel Christian tours company if there is an option to add a few days on to explore Tel Aviv, and experience modern Israel alongside its mystical, ancient past.