Jerusalem: City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam

Day 5: Insight for Living Ministries Israel Tour

When people picture the city of Jerusalem, they usually think of the historic Western Wall, or the Old City, or the Temple Mount crowned with the Golden Dome of the Rock. But people on our tour were surprised to learn that the original city of Jerusalem lay just south of the Temple Mount on a small spur of land that encompassed about only ten acres.

City of David

(Photo: City of David at right, and Kidron Valley)

Crammed with houses and punctured with archaeological digs, the original area of Jerusalem looks much different today than it did three thousand years ago when King David conquered it.

Today, this part of Jerusalem retains the name, “The City of David,” and offers a number of archeological interests that relate to the monarch. The best way to view the area is to ascend the stairs just inside the entrance to the Visitor’s Center and stand atop the observation platform.

Check it out from Google Street View. Go ahead and click around:

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Caesarea Philippi, Tel Dan, the Golan Heights, and the Sea of Galilee

Day 3: Insight for Living Ministries Israel Tour

Today the Insight for Living Ministries’ Israel tour pointed its buses north towards the Golan Heights and several significant biblical sites. On our way north, we passed Tel Hazor and I thought of when Joshua conquered the city in his day. Our time in the Golan Heights included a visit to Caesarea Philippi.

Caesarea Philippi

(Photo: Caesarea Philippi)

The site has been identified in Scripture with the names Baal-gad (Joshua 11:17; 12:7; 13:5), Baal-hermon (Judges 3:3), and Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13).

Jesus brought His twelve disciples all the way up to the pagan region of Banias/Caesarea Philippi and asked them the question:

Who do people say that the Son of Man is? —Matthew 16:13

We also toured the amazing site of Tel Dan and saw the beautiful panorama of the Golan Heights. (Read more about these sites below.)

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The Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Nof Ginosar, and Nazareth

Day 2: Insight for Living Ministries Israel Tour

The picturesque view from the Mount of Beatitudes offers visitors more than simply something to see. Today our bus tugged up the incline toward the “mount” and took a few hairpin turns up the hill. Once on top, the road curved east and rewarded us with a marvelous view of a church that gazed out over thirteen miles across the Sea of Galilee.

Mount of Beatitudes

(Photo: Mount of Beatitudes)

The beautiful chapel supports a cross with a stained dome that towers over its structure made of gray cinder blocks. The building’s eight sides commemorate the eight “beatitudes” that began Jesus’ celebrated Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10). The Mount of Beatitudes marks the traditional location of the sermon.

Here Chuck Swindoll gave a message on the Beatitudes and we sang songs of praise to God. It’s a great place to sit, read, pray—or just enjoy the view.

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Caesarea, Mount Carmel, and a Great Question for You

Day 1: Insight for Living Ministries Israel Tour

Today, the tour began—with 500 of our closest friends! And what a great day it was. We began our day at Caesarea—the primary port used in the time of Jesus and the Apostles.

Caesarea—A Place for Entertainment, Evangelism, and Education

(Photo: The theater in Caesarea)

Caesarea by the Sea

In the first century, Caesarea enjoyed a constant flow of people with money to burn (sort of like tourists today, I guess). The bustling seaport featured all the usual touches of Roman culture—including a vast entertainment industry for the masses that frequented the city.

We sat in the ancient, massive theater built for 3500 spectators and overlooked the ocean.

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3 Ways to Follow Along on My Upcoming Israel Tour

Insight for Living Ministries Israel Tour Begins in a Few Days

I hope you’ll follow along on my upcoming Israel tour with Insight for Living Ministries. I will serve as the Bible teacher on one of the buses, helping connect the Bible and its lands to life.

3 Ways to Follow Along on My Upcoming Israel Tour

(Photo: Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate and Dome of the Rock. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

After going to Israel so many times through the years, I have to be honest . . . it never gets old.

There are several easy ways for you to stay connected and follow the tour “virtually”!

Take your pick.

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Is It Safe to Travel to Israel?

6 Reasons you can go to the Holy Land with confidence.

It seems most every week the news spotlights some political tension in the Middle East. Headlines do their best to dial in on any unrest they can find, making us wonder if it is safe to travel to Israel.

Is It Safe to Travel to Israel? YES.

(Photo: Friends of ours overlooking Joppa)

But think about what the news reports here in the States. Only bad news makes the news. And yet, we know for a fact the news reports only on a slice of reality.

I had a friend from China who came to America to study at seminary. He told me his wife was afraid to move to America because she thought their children would be shot at public school. Think about it. If all we knew of America came from what we learned on the news, we would have a very distorted perspective.

When forming an opinion on whether or not it is safe to travel to Israel, we tend to make that choice based on feelings—not facts. Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

Here are 6 reasons why you can go to the Holy Land with confidence.

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What My Strip-Search Taught Me about Safety in Israel

How giving the naked truth offered an ironic twist.

I will never forget the day I got strip-searched in Israel. It scared the bejeebers out of me, embarrassed me—and it gave me a new take on safety in Israel.

What My Strip-Search Taught Me about Safety in Israel

(Photo by Photodune)

I traveled with Dr. Reg Grant and Dave Carl to the Holy Land to video the “Experience the Land and the Book DVD.” The trip went without a hitch until we got to the airport to head home. Reg and Dave made it through security just fine—and they proceeded to our gate.

But for some reason, the security officials detained me. They pulled me aside into a back room and told me to take off my clothes.

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