Israel is commonly known as the Land of the Bible where various biblical events unfolded. Due to this strong connection, Christians worldwide take pilgrimages and visit popular places in the Bible found in Israel. This is an extraordinary spiritual journey for all who wish to see firsthand the blessings God poured out to Israel. It further reveals the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people. Ultimately, these significant biblical places would speak of what the country has to offer from ancient times to the present. Let’s have an overview of some interesting biblical places to visit in Israel.
Hezekiah’s Tunnel (Siloam Tunnel)
In 2 Chronicles 32, the plan of King Hezekiah to strengthen Jerusalem for the approaching siege by the Assyrians came through blocking the source of the waters of the upper Gihon and leading them straight down on the west of the City of David. This resulted in an extraordinary feat of engineering which connects the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam beneath the ground. Hence, Hezekiah’s Tunnel was constructed, also known as the Siloam Tunnel.
Built approximately 2,700 years ago, Hezekiah’s tunnel was an astonishing engineering work from the ancient time. This 1,750 foot-long subterranean passageway never failed to amaze its visitors, a testament of the wisdom and exceptional engineering skills put into its construction during its time. The tunnel is one of Jerusalem’s popular landmarks today that you can walk through. Just don’t forget your flashlights!
The Jordan River, which means “descended” in Hebrew, flows southward from Mount Hermon to the Sea of Galilee. It descends 950 meters from its source to the Dead Sea. The river is an important source of water in Israel. It is more like a creek than a river with about 100 feet wide and approximately 17 feet at its deepest point. It is a living witness to various events in the Bible.
The Jordan River is one of the places in the Bible you want to visit. It is the river that Joshua and the Israelites crossed to enter the Promised Land. Furthermore, it is the same river the prophets Elijah and Elisha crossed without getting wet. Naaman, the Syrian general, was healed from leprosy after bathing in the river as the prophet Elisha instructed. Jacob also crossed this river with a staff before receiving his blessing. At present, the Jordan River is one of the popular places in the Bible in Israel for baptism.
Valley of Elah
The Valley of Elah, also known as the “Valley of the Terebinth”, is one of the most strategic battlefields in Israel. The large and shady terebinth trees are from which the valley takes its name. This is the place where the Israelites encamped when David defeated Goliath about 3,000 years ago. On its west side, near Sochoh is the largest terebinth tree that is 55 feet high, a trunk, 17 feet wide, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75 feet. It notably stands at the upper end of Elah Valley.
1 Samuel 17 describes the battlefield. The armies of the Philistines gathered together at Sochoh and pitched between Sochoh and Azekah. On the other hand, King Saul and his men were gathered together and pitched by the valley of Elah. Both armies stood at the mountains opposite to each other where the valley lies. Between them, they witnessed how David killed Goliath with his sling and five stones. From then on, what seemed to be an ordinary valley became one of the popular biblical places to visit today.
With a distinctive shape from the Jezreel valley, standing 420 meters above the plain is Mount Tabor. It sits in the lower Galilee, just 7 kilometers east of Nazareth, and was a place of many battles and a junction of trade routes. At present, many tourists find it as an awesome hiking spot where a glorious sunrise awaits. It is also a popular paragliding location to visit in Israel.
Mount Tabor is highly associated with Israel’s victory over the Canaanite commander, Sisera. The prophetess Deborah gave God’s command to Barak to go and draw towards Mount Tabor with his ten thousand men. There, the Israelites attacked and vanquished Sisera and the Canaanites. Furthermore, the place was a significant junction of the north-south route of Galilee with the east-west highway of the Jezreel valley used to strategically control various trades in ancient times.
As one of the most popular nature sites to visit in Israel is En Gedi, a desert oasis close to Dead Sea’s western shore. It is there you will find waterfalls, pools of water, and large streams give a picturesque view and an invitation to adventures. The oasis is an important water source in this dry region since ancient times. More than that, it was the hiding place for David on his flight from King Saul. Also, it was the place where David cut off a corner of Saul’s cloak. In 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, the Moabites and Ammonites came to wage war against King Jehoshaphat at Hazezon-Tamar, also known as En Gedi.
Today, En Gedi has an internationally acclaimed botanical garden housing more than 900 species of plants from different parts of the world. It is also a place for the thriving date palms. With its vegetation, waterfalls, and springs, En Gedi is now one of the places in the Bible considered as a great tourist attraction.