New video series explores biblical sites in the Holy Land

The Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) has released an official series of short videos exploring the various biblical and archaeological sites throughout the Holy Land.

The video series contains episodes shot on location at significant sites throughout the country, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Qumran, Shilo and the City of David. There are currently 10 episodes available, with many more on the way.

The series is available on the Visit Israel YouTube page (@goisraelofficial), and was streamed on the ACTS2 app, the streaming service’s 24-hour channel of Great Commission television, and is available in the app on demand.

Yael Golan is the director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism for the southern U.S. The IMOT helps organize tourism trips for those visiting the country. Golan said the group has worked on the project for months.

“We wanted to compile it (information about Israel’s sites) into a resource of its own, and then be able to serve it to the Christian community, whether it’s pastors or the general audience,” Golan said.

“Each episode has a very unique story, and every episode stands on its own but together they tell the story of Israel.”

Episodes are around five minutes in length and feature a representative familiar with the particular site giving a tour of the important historical, natural, archaeological or biblical components.

Content that may be of interest to evangelical Christians include the Pool of Siloam in the City of David and the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

The Pool of Siloam is where Israelites washed to spiritually purify themselves before entering the temple. At the pool, Jesus healed a blind man, as told in John 9:1-11.

Among those buried in the historical Tomb of the Patriarchs are Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob (Israel) and Leah. The site is still used for many Jewish ceremonies, including weddings.

With all of the historical and biblical significant of these sites, Golan hopes the video content will be a tool for religious leaders and pastors.

“With creating the content, we wanted to serve it to pastors,” Golan said. “You look at the Bible and now you can actually see the different sites that have significance. It’s all about how we are serving the pastors to serve their congregation better.”

Golan said travel to the Holy Land has rebounded after being stymied during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tourism to the Holy Land is expected to increase all the more with reports of a “master plan” from the Jordanian government for a $100 million renovation to the Jordan River to celebrate the second millennium of the baptism of Jesus in 2030.

Golan said the videos are meant to serve as a “bridge” for believers who may just be interested in seeing and learning more about the country, and Christians who may be preparing for a trip.

“We wanted to serve this content and to showcase sites that are a tad less familiar,” Golan said.

“So many have traveled to Israel since 3,000 years ago … our job is to find the people who have never been, and when they think Israel as a destination is a very old place, this video series will meet them where they’ll be surprised,” Golan said.

Kort Weldon is the faith-based marketing director of IMOT in the southern U.S. He said the most important thing the content will provide for evangelical Christians is context that will make familiar Scriptures come to life.

“I love being able to actually provide content that gives you a better insight, wherever it’s a certain Scripture or a certain region, giving some context,” Weldon said.

“Having content that’s relevant to what you already may have an understanding of, or may not, to help learn and educate, is a key factor.

“One of the big things that I’ve learned over the last several years is the content that you can provide people, especially when it comes from an educational and historical standpoint, is going to give you so much context to the Scriptures you’ve read your entire life. For me that’s what videos like this do. They’re going to give kind of the tools to see a visual of what you’ve imagined.”

— Timothy Cockes is a Baptist Press staff writer.