The Good Samaritan Revisited
by Wayne Rice
One day, a priest was walking down a country lane when he heard cries coming from a ditch on the other side of the road.
"Help me! Help me, please!"
The priest stopped and strained his neck to see into the ditch. Then he called across the road, "What happened to you?"
"I was traveling to town when I was attacked, beaten, and robbed. Please help me, I can't move," the voice responded.
The priest paused for a moment. Then he yelled back to the voice in the ditch. "Listen, there's this guy called the Good Samaritan who always helps people in need. He should be coming down the road any time now. He'll help you. I don't know anything about first aid and I wouldn't want to make things worse."
"Wait, you don't understand, I'm..."
But the priest had already gone on his way.
Soon, another man came walking along the road. This man was a Levite.
"Help me! Help me, please!"
The Levite stopped in the road and looked from side to side. "Who was that? Who said that?"
"I did, over here!" called the voice from the ditch on the other side of the road.
"You talkin' to me?" asked the Levite.
"Yes, you! I was traveling to town when I was attacked,beaten, and robbed. I need your help!"
"Oh," said the Levite, gazing into the ditch. "You do sound like someone who could use some help. Wait a minute! Attacked? Beaten? Robbed? What a coincidence. That reminds me of a story a fellow named Jesus told! Ever heard of him?"
"Yeah, I know the story. Now, can you help me?"
"Actually, I'm in quite a rush. But I'm sure that someone else will be along shortly to help you. Someone called...um...the Good
Samaritan! That's it! He'll be along soon. This is a busy road, you know."
"Couldn't you help me? I'm feeling very weak, I can't..."
"I'm sorry, but I'm not the Good Samaritan. I'm the Levite. If I helped you, it would ruin the story. You wouldn't want me to do
that, now, would you?"
"No, I wouldn't want you to do that, but I think it's already...Wait! Come back!"
"Patience there, chap! I'm sure the Good Samaritan will be along shortly," the Levite said as he went on his way.
"Ohhhh...I can't last much longer," the wounded man said softly.
Soon another man came walking along the same road. He ran over to the ditch when he heard the man crying.
"Oh my goodness! What happened?"
"I was traveling to town when I was attacked, beaten, and robbed. Two other men have walked by and haven't helped me. Please help me. I can't move."
The traveler peered in at the wounded figure lying on the ground in front of him. Finally he said, "Wait a minute...you look familiar. Where are you from?"
"Do you by any chance have a nickname?" he asked, suddenly excited.
"Me? Oh, some people call me the Good Samaritan because I helped an injured man on this road a while back."
"Yes! Yes! Well, sir, I was the man you helped! All this time I have been looking for you because I wanted to pay you back! Wow,this is great! I can't wait until I find my friends and tell them that I actually met up with you again! And now I can finally pay you back!
Look, here are two silver coins--exactly what you gave that innkeeper. I feel so much better having finally repaid you. This is wonderful!"
The grateful man, who had himself once been attacked, beaten, and
robbed, laid the two silver coins in the dust next to the wounded man and then cheerfully went on his way, whistling a happy tune.
"Wait, wait! I don't want your money..." whispered the man from Samaria. But it was too late. The other man was already gone.
And so, the Good Samaritan died quietly in a ditch by the side of the road.
Jesus told the original story of the Good Samaritan to teach us how to love. But like the grateful man in this take on the parable, we sometimes miss the point. Love is more than words; it's more than a feeling; more than doing what's easy and convenient. Love means getting down in the ditch with someone to give them what they really need. It means getting dirty and being inconvenienced. Sometimes it means laying down your life for a friend (John 15:13). Jesus did that for us.