You'll leave Jerusalem and pass by (no stop) the Rachel's Tomb
, where Scripture relates that Rachel the matriarch died and was buried after giving birth to her son Benjamin (Genesis 35:19-20). After a short ride, you will arrive at Manger Square
and the Church of the Nativity
. The Church of the Nativity is actually two churches with additional chapels and sites within the church compound. Enter through the lowered Door of Humility to the Basilica of the Nativity , and down to the Grotto of the Nativity, an underground cave which contains the site where Jesus
is said to have been born.
See the silver star marking the exact spot.
See also the Church of St. Catherine
, the Chapel of Saint Joseph
(commemorating the appearance of the angel to Joseph and commanding him to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13)), the Chapel of Saint Jerome , where according to tradition he translated the Bible into Latin, and the Chapel of the Innocents which commemorates the children who were killed by Herod (Matthew 2:16-18). Spend some time in the bustle of Manger Square and then head to the Milk Grotto , where the Holy Family found refuge before their flight into Egypt and where according to tradition, the white color of the walls was caused by a drop of milk that fell when Mary was nursing the baby Jesus.
Please note that you will be taken to a souvenir shop
as part of the tour where you can (but are in no manner required to) purchase souvenirs and locally produced goods.
Before heading off to Jericho
(via Jerusalem ), see the Shepherds Fields where the 'shepherds kept watch of their flocks by night' and 'an angel of the Lord appeared to them' (Luke 2:8-10). On your way to Jericho , you will see the Inn of the Good Samaritan , a 19th-century Turkish caravanserai which many people believe evokes the setting of the Good Samaritan parable .
Once you have arrived in Jericho , the lowest and quite possibly the oldest city on earth, your first stop will be at Zacchaeus Sycamore . According to tradition, this is the place where Zacchaeus, a short-statured tax collector, climbed a tree to get a better look at Jesus and where Jesus spoke with him (Luke c.19). In the distance, you can see Mount Temptation , where Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:8). On top of the mount is the Monastery of the Temptation which is located above the cave where Jesus is said to have fasted and meditated for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:2). Your final destination is the Mount of Ancient Jericho , where around 25 ancient cities were unearthed over centuries of excavations. The oldest city discovered dates back to 9000 BCE.