Imagine you step off a plane with Bible in hand, only to find yourself in the pages of Scripture itself. The sites, stories, and struggles come alive before your eyes.
There is something life changing about traveling through Israel—not as a tourist, but as a Christian who longs to know God and His Word more.
Sure, you can read commentaries, study an atlas, or listen to sermons … but when you've walked the land yourself, suddenly not only does the Bible appear in living color but those commentaries, maps, and sermons have a greater depth and meaning.
Passages begin to make sense when you see them in their geological setting—when you walk the streets, climb the mountains, and swim in the waters, you see the Bible in its historical, cultural, and geographical context in a fresh and exciting way.
The Word truly becomes alive and in living color right before your eyes.
Most tour companies take busloads of tourists to the Holy Land each year, see the sites, and go home. And to be honest, if you simply want to be a tourist and check Israel off your list, this ISN'T the trip for you.
This Study Tour won't merely be a fun summer vacation, a travel tour to a foreign land, or an adventure of epic proportions … this is a life-changing opportunity to deepen your intimacy with Jesus Christ as you dive into God's Word.
My desire is that you actually experience the Word on this trip—both the Living Word (Jesus) and the Written Word (Bible).
Yes, we will see many of the popular sites … but this isn't a tourist trip … this is an on-location study tour. We are going to take time at each site to study God's Word and allow the Truth to transform our lives.
The Israel Study Tour is an opportunity for you to seek and yearn after the Lord in many of the locations where the Bible took place, grow in intimacy with Jesus Christ, deepen your understanding of God's Word, and have a lot of fun, fellowship, and laughter with like-minded believers in the process.
Consider joining Nathan Johnson and the ministry of deeperChristian (in partnership with Ellerslie Discipleship Training) on a study tour which will radically change how you see and understand the Bible.
Are you ready to experience the Word in living color?
"Going to Israel has made me really realize that the Promised Land is not just a pastel print-out of a map on the last page of my Bible but an actual "land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey" (Deut. 8:7-8). No longer are the locations in the Bible flannel-board cut-outs in a Sunday School classroom, but they are the roads we walked on, the trees we saw in the distance, the caves we explored, the hills we looked at on the horizon, the water we splashed in, the rocks we touched with our hands, the ruins we photographed, the mountain we climbed, the seas we swam in, the fields we sat in, and the dust that had been beneath our feet. Being where Jesus healed the sick, called the disciples, calmed the storm, cast out demons, and preached the kingdom has made me even more aware of the amazing reality that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) and how incredible it is that He "took the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). Going to Israel made Jesus and the Bible even more real to me than ever before!"
— Lea Gooch
There is nothing like seeing with your own eyes and being physically present in the very locations that our Lord Jesus walked in, lived in, suffered in, died on, and was resurrected from that can better imprint in one's mind the reality of God humbling Himself to take on the form of a man in order to literally enter into our lives. Simply walking through the land of Israel exudes a beautiful aroma of the Gospel!
— Daniil Rubashka
This trip to Israel was amazing! … This trip definitely was not your average tour … After just a few days of coming back, I already started to read Scripture differently with a whole new vibrancy and love for the Lord. Are you considering going on this next trip? Go! You won't regret it!
— Amanda Saxton
Highlights + Locations
Allow the Biblical drama to unfold before you as you open God’s Word and walk in the footsteps of not just Jesus but also Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and countless others.
Biblical teaching by Nathan Johnson at most locations
Evening times of fellowship, worship, teaching, and reflection
Take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee
Hike Mount Arbel overlooking the Sea of Galilee
Throw a stone in the Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath)
Swim in the Dead Sea
Wander around in the wilderness like the Israelites (just not for 40 years)
Visit the Israel Museum with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit and the scale model of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus
Explore Hezekiah’s Tunnel
Walk the streets of Jerusalem and the Via Dolorosa
Stand upon the Mount of Olives with a captivating view of Jerusalem
Pray in the Garden of Gethsemane
Take communion at the tomb of Jesus
Other Exciting Locations:
Mount of Beatitudes
Temple Mount + Western Wall
Shepherd’s Field (Bethlehem)
Pool of Bethesda
And many more!
Come and See!
You won’t receive a detailed itinerary for this trip—you’re simply invited to enjoy the journey. Just as in life while we often don’t know what each day holds, we are still called to seek Christ and keep our focus steadfast upon Him. This trip is a call to follow, to seek, to “come and see”—the same beckoning call of Jesus to His disciples (see John 1:39, 43).
This trip is more than a tourist vacation, it is a biblical study tour as we learn, study, and seek Jesus Christ as we dive into His Word in the land where it took place. You will be challenged physically, emotionally, and spiritually … and you won’t return home the same.
Wednesday April 15 – Thursday April 16
Meet at O'Hare Airport (Chicago) – you are responsible to get to O'Hare Airport
Evening flight from O'Hare (Chicago) to Istanbul (Turkey)
Flight from Istanbul (Turkey) to Tel Aviv (Israel)
Friday April 17
Shephelah (Valley of Elah, Lachish, etc)
Saturday April 18 – Sunday April 19
Negev (The desert/wilderness, Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, Ein Gedi, etc)
Monday April 20 – Wednesday April 22
Galilee (Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Caesarea Philippi, Sea of Galilee, Tel Dan, etc)
Thursday April 23 – Saturday April 25
Jerusalem (Temple Mount, Herodium, Bethlehem, City of David, Hezekiah's Tunnel, Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Garden Tomb, etc)
Sunday April 26
Flight from Tel Aviv (Israel) to Istanbul (Turkey)
I would describe this trip as a honeymoon with Jesus.
— Clare Stollery
Standing in the different locations brought Scripture to life in a new way. Somehow Biblical characters became more human and their struggles became more real.
— Kaitlyn Donihue
Group Size: 35
We purposefully keep the group size around 35 so that we can know everyone, have great fellowship, yet big enough to help keep the trip costs lower.
Sign up is on a first-come, first-served basis … so once the group is full, you'll have to wait till the next trip.
Spaces Left: 24 (as of September 25)
There is very little level ground in Israel and while we do have a bus to take us to sites, there will be a lot of walking and hiking on this trip. You can expect to walk and/or hike 4-8 miles a day, with changes in elevation (ie: hills, stairs, etc). It is recommended that you physically train for the trip.
$4250 per person*SUPER EARLY BIRD SAVINGS: Register before October 1 and save $200! (total cost: $4050)
*EARLY BIRD SAVINGS: Register by October 23, 2019 and save $100 (total cost: $4150)
** If you desire to have your own hotel room during the trip (or you sign up late and we are unable to pair you with a roommate), the additional cost is: $1030.00 for a single room without a roommate.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE• $500 deposit due at time of registration to reserve your spot
• $1875 due by November 27, 2019
• Remaining balance due by February 25, 2020
COST INCLUDES– Round-trip fights from Chicago
– Hotel accommodations
– Daily breakfast and dinner buffet
– Lunches on site
– Local Hebrew Guide and Bus Driver
– Deluxe touring motor coach (with air conditioning)
– All fees, tips, and taxes
– A high-end Osprey water backpack … plus bottled water on tour
– Study guide, journal, Israel plug adapter, flashlight
– Pre-trip curriculum
– An experience of a lifetime!
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE– Flights or luggage fees to get to Chicago (O'Hare International Airport)
– Extra drinks (besides water) at meals
– Travel Insurance (if desired)
CANCELATION POLICY– Full refund less $200 for cancellations after deposit
– Full refund less $500 for cancellations after October 23, 2019
– Full refund less $2000 for cancellations after November 27, 2019
– No refunds for cancellations after February 25, 2020
Since returning from the land of Israel reading the Bible is like taking in the 3D version. Visually seeing the geography, culture and terrain of the land of the Bible has brought color and dimension to the Word of God that I have never seen in such vibrancy before!
— Emily Stoltzfus
This journey from Dan to Beersheba, from Med to Dead, was incredible. Sites were so rich with meaning culturally, historically, archeologically and spiritually. To wake every morning and have the anticipation of a day with Jesus in the land of promise and birthplace of the gospel was beyond description. So many layers, so much fun, a feast for the eyes, stomach and of course ultimately for the spirit. You have to experience it to understand it!
— Charlotte Klinger
Is it safe to travel to Israel?
Although it is impossible to guarantee 100% safety, travel in Israel is very safe—in fact, it is safer to travel to Israel than it is to travel to New York City. We always travel with an Israeli guide who is aware of what’s going on in the country and if there's even a hint of potential danger, we will simply avoid the area. We do not take chances! Overall, the likelihood of any kind of danger is very, very slim. In fact, everyone who returns from these trips often remarks, “I never once felt unsafe.” And personally, if there wasn’t an enormously high degree of safety, I would not be leading trips to Israel.
What does a typical day look like?
While every day is unique, a typical day begins with a wake up call at 6:00am, a buffet breakfast at 6:30, and usually on our way by 7:00/7:30. We travel to our various sites by bus, and it is at these sites where God’s Word is studied in its historical, cultural, geographical, and Jewish contexts. Lunch is served on location typically between 12:30-1:30pm. The majority of our days involve moderate to strenuous hiking and it is encouraged that you take snacks with you (such as trail mix, granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, crackers, or protein/energy bars—preferably without chocolate as it tends to melt. Note, it is best to buy snacks at home and pack them in your luggage, which gives you that space for souvenirs on the way home). We will arrive back at the hotel in time for the dinner buffet each evening. On several evenings, we will gather together as a group for fellowship, reflection, worship, and additional Bible study—otherwise, the evenings will be available for rest, fellowship, extra sleep, etc. It is important you get enough sleep as each day is full of travel, site seeing, learning, and adventure. Generally speaking, you should be able to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night.