Our third Bible Lands tour of Israel, in November 2011, delighted us with amazing new finds in Jerusalem and Nazareth, but throughout Israel where there is an unprecedented amount of archaeological digging and discovery happening. Jehovah’s Witnesses have several tour agencies operating these tours, using quality hotels and agencies, and we enjoyed being based in Jerusalem the whole time, getting to know and love it more than ever.
In Jerusalem there has recently been opened up the ancient ‘Herod’s Steps’; a long stone series of Roman steps leading from the genuine Pool of Siloam, which itself was only discovered in recent years after many years of the experts featuring the wrong pool!
Next door is the Gihon Spring with a frantic amount of digging going on every day; a chain-gang of uni students are clearing thousands of years of rubble from what appears to be 4 original defensive stone towers protecting the main source of Jerusalem’s water. They have had to re-think the theory of ‘Warren’s Shaft’ from what was thought to be an vertical vertical shaft for collecting the city’s water, to a sloping horizontal tunnel leading from two of the newly discovered towers to another two towers set into the city’s walls.
Then at Nazareth, there is the newly opened Nazareth Village, a re-creation of Nazareth as it would have been 2000 years ago, with live demonstrations and tours of the large site, in the center of the real Nazareth.
Massada also has much more to see than even a year ago … new rooms opened up, better walk ways, more shelter from the blazing sun. The Jericho baptism site at the Jordan has been re-opened after many years of closure between Jordan and Israel; a blue dye factory has been opened to the public showing the mysterious process of producing the blue dye used on the ancient robes of the priests; Caesarea has become a major tourist site with the opening up of an amazingly large chariot race track and other ancient city features; the Western Wall tunnel in Jerusalem is astonishing … the list goes on and on with new discoveries.
You must go! With any of the groups of JWs you get to go to the ‘authentic’ sites (or as near as its possible with current knowledge); they will probably also take you to the Bethel there, as the two most popular groups are ‘bethel tour’ organizations from USA and the UK.