ISRAEL & PALESTINE
Not one book of the Bible was written in the territory between the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Nonetheless, they are the most magnetic of all our destinations. Today they are identified as Israel and Palestine. Due to their association with the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, pilgrims and students often refer to Israel-Palestine as the Holy Land. Regardless of where the narratives that make up our Bible were written, most stories in the Old Testament are located in the Holy Land. The stories found in the Gospels are almost entirely located there. Most importantly, the authors of the biblical texts presume that their readers are personally acquainted not only with the geography of the Holy Land, but also the social, political and material cultures of the Holy Land. We contend that without such acquaintance, the full meanings of the texts will remain shrouded in obscurity and even lost on the modern reader. In fact, unless the modern reader puts the biblical texts in their original contexts, he or she is not only likely to misunderstand and misapply the texts, but might even do damage with them. In other words, if one wants to understand the Word of God, one must first become acquainted with the world of the Bible. The hands-down best way to acquaint yourself with the world of the Bible is by traveling there. In fact, there is no substitute. While you can immerse yourself in as many texts about the Holy Land as you would like, nothing is more educational, not to mention spiritually renewing and inspiring, than experiential learning by traveling through the original contexts themselves.
Our experiential, spiritual pilgrimages are unique and unequaled. Not only do the biblical texts illuminate contemporary contexts, contemporary contexts also illuminate the biblical texts. While seminary inculcation into the rigors of biblical scholarship is hugely valuable, it is nevertheless focused almost exclusively on intellectual methods and learning. Experiential learning through Holy Land travel involves not only the intellect, but also the heart and all the senses. Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is more than touring. We seek to inspire the will and motivate action and do so with all our programs. We also seek to avoid the traps of commercial tourism which are especially rampant in Holy Land travel. We restore authenticity to Christian pilgrimage by returning to its roots.
Jordan is one of the gems of the Middle East. It is unknown to many travelers before they arrive. It is unforgettable once the journey there is concluded. Guaranteed!
Jordan is packed with places of interest that illuminate biblical history and early Christian history as well. Well-known sites such as Madaba and Mt. Nebo, where Moses glimpsed the promised land before he died, attract countless pilgrims each year. The King’s Highway runs the length of Jordan and was used by Moses and the ancient Israelites during the Exodus. It holds forth wonders missed by most visitors who never venture off the well-worn tourist route. Jerash, i.e., ancient Gerasa, was one of the cities of the Decapolis. It was well known to Jesus and today, it is one of the best-preserved Hellenistic cities anywhere in the Mediterranean region. Jordan preserves impressive remains of Byzantine churches and the extravagant mosaics that decorated them.
The Rose Red city of Petra is thrilling for all visitors. Travelers marvel at its mystery, its mountainous geographical setting and its extraordinary rock-carved temples, tombs and dwellings. Wadi Rum is a breathtaking, spectacular desert environment that figured prominently in the events of the Arab revolt during World War I and the exploits of T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia. Our travelers enjoy its charm, experience adventure and encounter Bedouin culture while traveling in open air 4x4s. You can even spend a night or two at a desert camp. We explore desert civilization, ancient rock carvings and natural desert wonders. Amman, the capital city, is home to more than half the Jordanian population and displays Jordan’s contrasts from traditional to sparkling modernity.
Our journeys in Jordan usually occur in combination with touring in Israel and Palestine or as an elective to a journey to Israel.