How to Be a Neighbor (“The Good Samaritan” Unplugged)

He loaded the animal for the daily trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. That city provided much needed work. The daily trek through treacherous territory was a small price to pay. Good wages and amenable fellow workers made each day a welcome adventure. But this day would find exceptional surprise.

The Good Samaritan, by He Qi. Used by permission. Go to to view and purchase prints and posters.

As he and the animal climbed the path that passed random caves on one side and a dangerous drop on the other, two men went running by. They were nothing but a blur in the dusky dawn as they passed. It was unusual, but nothing to keep him from pressing on for a days’ wage.

When the morning sun peeked over the horizon he saw a shadowy figure slowly walking toward him. As it drew closer he noticed the robes of a priest. His head slowly bowed as the holy man walked by. He averted his eyes, but noticed a nervous shuffle in the priest’s step. Glancing back he watched the robed one throwing his gaze up to the heavens.

The sun was climbing and so was his animal. Picking up the pace toward a day of work, He pressed on. The footsteps of the animal pointed straight toward another stranger on the way. In the clear light he knew it was a Levite. The day seemed doubly blessed. But as he walked by the Levite raised his eyebrows and shrugged.

Rounding the next turn brought some much needed shade. For a moment his eyes were blinded. As they adjusted to the shade a twisted pile appeared on the ground in front of him. Drawing nearer his heart quickened to the discovery that the lump lying in front of him was a man.

The man had been beaten, bloodied, and left for dead.  Now he knew why two men had been sprinting in the early dawn. Apparently both a priest and a Levite had ignored the twisted pile of a man. But ignorance and ignoring would no longer take place. He got off his animal, took out his first aid kit, stopped the bleeding, and straightened the body as best he could. He heaved the pile off the ground, lifted it to the animal, and started off to the first place care could be given.

He gently laid his palm on the twisted pile of a man and moved with purpose. The animal’s empathetic eyes looked at its load with grace. They came to the place. “Please take him in. Care for him. I’ll pay you everything required. I’m on my way to work but will return this evening. If there’s any extra expense I will pay you then.”

As the sun set he came back to the place where care and comfort was given. He sat by the bed night after night, returning from each days’ work to do all he could to help the healing. He was a neighbor.

“Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Where have you seen mercy provided in an extraordinary way?

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