Jake and I got to lead worship for an Israel tour with our church! We learned so much on this journey- I can honestly say that the Bible came to life. It was amazing looking at Scripture reading verses about “Joppa,” “Tel-Dan,” and “Jerusalem,” (and many more!) while actually standing in those exact locations. It made everything feel less like a Bible “story” and more like real life!
When I travel, I love feeling like I got to experience everything the place has to offer. (Perhaps that why I’ve gone around the whole country of Iceland twice!) This is something I loved about going to Israel – the country is small, so if the trip is planned right (and ours certainly was thanks to Inspire Travel!) you can leave feeling like you didn’t miss out on anything!
After a long flight, we arrived in Tel Aviv, the second largest city in Israel located right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The biblical name for this town is “Joppa,” where Jonah got on a boat to flee from God!
I loved seeing this big mural of a whale in the same town Jonah left to get swallowed up by a whale!
Coast + Carmel
Next we experienced the ancient Roman Caesarea, where Paul was under house arrest. After that we drove to Mt. Carmel, where Elisha called down fire from Heaven!
Being on top of Mt. Carmel was amazing for two reasons- one, God blasted fire down from heaven here (!) and two, the view from the top overlooks the Valley of Jezebel (Armageddon), where the “final battle” will take place in the end times and the kingdom of God will experience victory once and for all!
From this location we drove to the region of Galilee, where Jesus did most of his ministry. I woke up to this beautiful sunrise over the water.
The Sea of Galilee– where Jesus walked on water! Taking a boat out in the morning is really beautiful. Our guides even taught us a traditional Jewish dance and got our whole group laughing and singing together!
I really couldn’t resist taking that last picture. 😉
This was in the area where Jesus lived during his three years of ministry. I think from watching a plethora of Bible movies growing up, I just assumed Jesus lived in a miserably hot desert his whole life. I really loved being here in Capernaum, because it helped shed new light on Jesus’ humanity. Most people I know love being by the water. No mater if it’s the ocean, a river, a lake, we just feel refreshed by the openness, freedom, and beauty of living by the water. It brought me comfort and joy to understand that even Jesus probably felt these things waking up every morning overlooking the Sea of Galilee!
We went to the mount of beatitudes next. There were mustard seeds growing all over the hillside. Look how tiny! This definitely brought some new perspective for me on Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
It was so special to be baptized as husband and wife together in the River Jordan!
From here, we headed north to the Golan Heights. This was a beautiful drive through farmland and up the mountainside!
The hike to Tel Dan was one of my favorite parts of the trip- so lush, so green, and a river flowing through the whole walk.
From this UN base in the “disputed territory” we had a view of both Syria and Lebanon.
The next day we got to see the ancient city of Beit Shean uncovered, as well as the location of Gideon’s spring, where God downsized his army from 32,000 to 300 men.
The Dead Sea is such a fun experience. For one, you are in the lowest point on Earth, two, the water is warm and really good for your skin, three, YOU FLOAT! The water is so incredible salty (it looks oily) that you don’t even have to swim.
The Ein Gedi Nature Reserve hike is a great way to beat the heat- there are waterfalls at the end! It’s a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. This is the exact location where David fled from King Saul!
David wrote about these rock badgers in Psalm 104:18 “The rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.”
Wouldn’t be a trip to Israel without a riding camels! Visit Genesis Land for a traditional Israeli meal under a tent and a camel ride!
We saved the best for last! Jerusalem is full of so much culture, history, and the Bible coming to life. Walking through the old city markets at night was one of my favorite parts of the trip! We got to see and take part in the prophecy of Zechariah 8:5: “The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” Jake got to play soccer with Jewish boys in the old city. In what once was a desolate and barren land, there is life around every corner!
Walking through the dark and narrow Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a really amazing experience- underground caves carved in the rock thousands of years ago to bring water from one side of the city to the other!
On the way back to the Tel Aviv airport, we stopped at This is in the Valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath!
After spending 12 days in Israel, we would highly recommend investing the time and money on a trip here. If you are a believer, it really does amazing things for your faith. So much of the Biblical narrative is centered around Israel. It opened our eyes to the importance of this country in God’s past, present, and future plan for his kingdom. It really brought the Bible to life for me, and I hope if you ever get the chance to go that it does the same for you!