Journey Through Israel with a First-Time Visitor

Experience Israel through the eyes of Lindsey, one of our first-time travelers. Enjoy these excerpts from the daily posts she shared with us. Her journey captures all the funny, informative, thought-provoking moments, painting a beautiful picture of what it is like to visit this remarkable region where Jesus lived. Read below to hear the experience in her own words:

Day 1

I’m so excited to start my journey in Israel. Today, we visited Nazareth, where Jesus grew up. We also went to Capernaum, the “headquarters” of Jesus where he performed miracles. My hotel is right next to the Sea of Galilee.

Lindsey on a mountain overlooking the Valley of Armageddon

Lindsey overlooking the Valley of Armageddon

Day 2 

Today, we explored many archaeological sites spread across this amazing country including the ancient synagogue that many believe to be Peter’s house, an amphitheater and so much more.

Photo of Capernaum Synagogue Ruins

Capernaum Ruins

We finished the day with baptisms in the Jordan River—the same river where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist! To be in the same places where Jesus and his disciples once were is so cool. It puts the pieces together in the Bible when you see where the events took place.

Lindsey talking to Skip Heitzig during her baptism in the Jordan River

Lindsey’s baptism in the Jordan River

Day 3

We began our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and enjoyed a Sunday morning church service right on the boat—now THAT’S a church service . Next, we went to Caesarea Philippi and the Golan Heights. I was surprised to see how much agriculture there is here. Israel is a beautiful country and they have planted millions of trees in the last 70 years.

Picture of trees and water at the Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Day 4

It got REAL today y’all! We started off in Caesarea Maritima off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and saw what was left of where Herod the Great lived. This is where Peter visited, leading Cornelius to Christ. This is also where Paul was a prisoner for two years.

Picture of sand and water at Caesarea Maritima Bay

Caesarea Maritima Bay

Then we headed to Jerusalem- whaaat?!?! From our viewpoint, we could see David’s City where his palace was. It’s indescribable to be in these places. THIS is where my Lord could have been? The tour has been amazing and I highly recommend Inspiration Cruises & Tours.

View of Jerusalem taken from atop a mountain

Spectacular view of Jerusalem

Day 5

Another amazing day in this beautiful city. Our guide shared a story with us: God gave Jerusalem nine portions of beauty and one portion to be divided up by the rest of the world. He also gave Jerusalem 9 portions of turmoil. It’s interesting to see the different religions living and worshiping together throughout the city. Although they live in separate areas, they respect each other.

After a Bible teaching on the Mount of Olives, I noticed gravestones all over the place. We were told that they were facing the Mount of Olives because Jesus will one day return to that exact spot and the people buried there want to be the first to ride with Him!

Pictures of narrow road on the Palm Sunday route

The Palm Sunday route

Next, we walked down the Palm Sunday route and entered the Garden of Gethsemane. It was filled with olive trees and flowers. Olives are pressed in September and October in this region. Did you know that olives picked early are green and turn black if they are left on the tree for a longer period?

Picture of beautiful trees and plants in the Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane

We entered the Church of Gethsemane and were delighted by an impromptu acapella song. Everyone was moved. I put my sunglasses on to hide my welled-up tears.

Day 6

Today was THE BEST! We visited Temple Mount and the Western (Wailing) Wall. And, yes, I also rode a camel! You can see how fun that was!

Picture of Lindsey riding a camel in Jerusalem

Camel ride in Jerusalem

The Western Wall was really cool. There’s so much history here! We saw a group of young boys going to receive their prayer book for the first time. Later, we had an amazing lunch at the Judean Desert inside tents. We were served the BEST food including pita bread and hummus. For dessert, we were served dates, golden raisins and dried apricots-yum! The camel rides were definitely the icing on the cake.

Day 7

Wow, just wow! Today was amazing. We stopped at so many places and saw so many things. It’s hard to keep track. We started the day at the Dome of the Rock. It was built in 691AD and is currently controlled by Muslims. We had to take off all Christian crosses and we were not allowed to bring in Bibles. The mosque was beautiful, but we were not allowed to go inside.

Picture of the Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

Next, we stopped at the Church of Saint Ann, the mother of Mary. It was built during the Crusades. It had great acoustics and I recorded a few videos of people singing. A-mazing! After that we visited Golgotha—also called the Place of the Skull. 

I cannot describe how amazing this trip has been so far. I don’t want it to end! Off to the Dead Sea tomorrow!

Days 8 & 9

As I sit in the airport, I look back on this trip with extreme gratitude. The places I’ve seen, the experiences and even new friends. I’m thankful to have visited this amazing country and also for my husband, Paul, for giving me his blessing and keeping things running at home.

I was thrilled to be able to visit the Dead Sea. It’s the lowest point on Earth, which is 1,300 feet below sea level. The water has over 30% salinity, so you float with zero effort. The water is chalky and full of magnesium, potassium and other minerals that work wonders for various ailments like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. You can also rub the mud on your body and let it dry for added skin benefits. Needless to say, I loved it and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!

Aerial view of the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea

Our next stop was Qumran, where 930 scrolls were found in caves. This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It includes the entire book of Isaiah and fragments of every Old Testament book with the exception of Esther. We also made a stop at Masada National Park. The ruins there were at the top of a mountain, so we rode a cable car on the way up!

Picture of Lindsey at the Masada National Park

Lindsey in Masada National Park

We took communion at the Garden Tomb and one couple even got engaged during the trip and decided to get married at the tomb! It was so special to have a service at that location. Our final stop was the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea scrolls and a model of Jerusalem.

3-D model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum

The Model of Jerusalem at the Israel Museum

So that’s a wrap! This was a trip of a lifetime and one I will never forget. Sooo thankful to Inspiration Cruises & Tours for organizing the tour. I cannot imagine the extensive planning involved in transporting 200 folks across Israel. If you plan to travel here, make sure to check them out.

The Bible tells us to pray for peace in Jerusalem and that is something that I will be adding to my prayers and I hope you will too. There is so much history here. As a Christian, it’s a must-see place that will bring you closer to God and provide a better understanding of the Bible. You see it come to life before your eyes and nobody can take that away. Thanks all for joining me on this journey.

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