The term “Good Samaritan” is well known in both religious and secular circles generally referring to a good person that helps a stranger in need. But what is the Good Samaritan story really about and why choose it as the name of our organization?
In Luke 10, a lawyer talks with Jesus about how he might inherit eternal life. He knows he must follow the Jewish law – love your neighbor as yourself – and so he asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan, where a man, presumably Jewish, is attacked, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest and a Levite, both considered honorable to the Jewish audience, pass the man by. Then a Samaritan, a person belonging to a culture that the Jewish people of the time would have despised, takes pity on the man. The Samaritan bandages his wounds, takes him to an inn, cares for him, and leaves money with the innkeeper to continue the care.
When Jesus asks which of these three – the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan – acted as a neighbor to the robbed man, the lawyer answers “The one who showed him mercy.”
As Jesus often does, he turns the question of “who is my neighbor?” on its head and instead answers “who might be a neighbor to me?”
At Good Samaritan Ministries, we believe that everyone has something to contribute, and it may be the person we least expect that will help us in our time of need. Our job as good neighbors is to be there for one another and to work together to affirm the dignity entitled to every person as a child of God. We are inclusive, we are collaborative, and we bring our neighbors – individuals, businesses, local governments, faith-based organizations, other non-profits – together to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and heed Jesus’ words:
“Go and do likewise.”