One time Jesus told the people around Him that they should “Treat their neighbors the way they would want to be treated.” One young fellow asked. “Who are my neighbors?” So Jesus told him a story:
Once upon a time there was a man who had to go to the city of Jericho. It was quite a hike to that town from Jerusalem, about 17 miles. He had to walk it through some hot, rocky territory. The hills were full of outlaws watching for victims traveling the road.
Sure enough, while he was out there all alone, a bunch of bad guys jumped him. They beat him up so bad he was nearly dead, then they took everything, even his clothes and left him lying out there in the hot sun with no food or water or money.
Pretty soon a Levite came along. A Levite was a rich man, an elder in the church, supposed to be a good religious man. As soon as he saw the man lying there nearly naked, all bloody and hot, the Levite went to the other side of the road and passed on by in a hurry, maybe afraid that the robbers were still around close.
So, the poor man was left there. But not much later along came a Priest. The priest was the top man in the church, a minister, supposed to represent God to his people. What did he do when he saw that poor, dirty, miserable man lying on the dirt road? He turned his head and looked away and scooted across to the other side of the road, too. And he went on down the road away from the man.
Well then, who came next but a Samaritan man. The Hebrews didn’t like Samaritans and the Samaritans didn’t like Hebrews (Jews). The Hebrews thought they were better than the Samaritans who lived in the northern part of the Holy Land. The Samaritans thought the Jews were snobs and wouldn’t even speak to them. The man who was lying in the road was a Jew.
But, as soon as the Samaritan man saw the poor, beat-up man, he hurried right over to him. He took his water canteen off of his donkey and gave the man a drink and then started wiping away the blood and dirt to see how bad he was hurt. It was really bad.
So the Samaritan cleaned off his wounds and tore some of his own clothes and bandaged him up. He loaded the man up on his donkey and very carefully walked it down the road. Finally he came to a motel.
He rented a room and put the man to bed and called for help. After while the Samaritan had to leave and go about his business, but he gave the owner of the motel money to pay for the room and food and medicines to help the poor man. He told the motel owner to take care of the man and, when he came back by, if it cost more than that, he would pay for it all.
“Now then,” Jesus asked the young man, “Who would you say was the man’s neighbor?”
“It was the Samaritan,” he answered.
“That’s right,” Jesus said. “Now you go and do things like that.”
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