No. 971



Life is full of regrets, but I have found the best course of action is to press on and focus on the things that lie ahead and do your best to help those you encounter along the way. For many years I have wanted to travel to Israel, the land of the Bible, and walk along the same trails and visit the same places where Jesus spent His time while here on earth. This became a reality for me back on March 17, 2014, when I went with my pastor and a group, mostly from my church, to visit the Holy Land. No doubt about it, this was the trip of a lifetime for me. The only regret I have is that I did not take my late wife Viola 10 years ago, when she could still walk and would have enjoyed the trip, perhaps even more than I did.
My roommate for this trip was Dr. Denver Prince, retired university professor, who had already been eight times, so I got the benefit of having someone who could tell me things and give me insights that helped to make our trip so much more enjoyable. The first morning we were there, our hotel was in Tiberius located right on the Sea of Galilee. Denver is big in social media and he took my picture with the sun coming up, with the hills and the sea in the background, and put it on Facebook. The picture was already back in my hometown before I had my first cup of coffee in this beautiful land.
Our tour guide, Mike, spoke four languages. A Greek Christian, Mike knew the history of this land and who occupied it, going back before the days of the Roman Empire. As one who has read the Bible over the years, I can promise you there is nothing like seeing the places and hearing the history and background of the land, people and events that you have been reading about. Concerns about our safety were prevalent on the trip. While it may be different in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, we felt very safe in the northern and central parts of the country, where we spent all of our time. I saw very few police cars anywhere we traveled, even in Jerusalem, and no violence.
On our actual trip we traveled from Little Rock to Atlanta, to Paris and on to Tel Aviv, where we met Mike and were taken by tour bus to the Gai Beach Hotel. They had great food, I might add. We left the hotel each morning with an itinerary of places to visit for the next four days. The first day we visited Nazareth, Church of the Annunciation, Cana, Megiddo, Haifa and Mount Carmel. The second day we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus Boat, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha, and the Chapel of St. Peter. The next day we traveled to the Golan Heights, Caesarea Philippi, Gaderenes, and the Jordan River. The following day we packed up and headed to Jerusalem and visited Beit Shean and Jericho along the way.
For the next five days we felt like we were in Heaven, literally, because Jerusalem is such a fantastic place. Here are just a few of the places we visited: Israel Museum, Model City, Bethany, Mount of Olives, Chapel of the Ascension, Garden of Gethsemane, Qumran, Masada, Dead Sea, Western Wall, Emmaus, Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, Shepherd’s Field, Via Dolorosa, Church of St. Anne, Sisters of Zion and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After reading this you may be able to understand why tourism is the country’s major source of income. I counted 30 tour buses each morning from our hotel’s second story window.
The company that books many of these tours is Educational Opportunities Tours and the web address is For what it’s worth, I highly recommend it.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)