The Good Samaritan

Adapted by Rachel Boxer

Once, when a man asked Jesus who he should help, Jesus replied that he should 'Help his neighbour'. And when the man asked who his neighbour was, Jesus told him this story. We call it 'The parable of the Good Samaritan.'

Eli was on a long journey from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho. He was a Jewish man, and had been travelling, on foot, for days in the blazing sunshine. Eli was hot and thirsty, and wondered if his journey would ever come to an end! And as if the heat wasn’t enough, he had to travel through some mountains. This made Eli more than a little nervous. It was as if every shadow was a robber hiding...waiting...

And then the worst happened. As he passed through a narrow pathway between two large rocks, robbers jumped on Eli, beat him and stole all his money and clothes. They left him by the side of the road in the hot sunshine, not caring if he lived or died. Eli lay there, bleeding, and unable to move.

After a while, Eli heard a sound - and he raised his head just enough to see that there was someone approaching along the road. Eli could see by the stranger’s clothes that he was a holy man.

'He is a good man, he is bound to help me,' thought Eli confidently. And he waited for kind hands to help him up and take care of him. But the holy man took one look at Eli...then deliberately crossed to the other side of the road and continued on his journey without giving poor Eli a second glance.

More time passed and Eli had almost giving up hope of ever being rescued when he heard another sound...the welcome sound of someone else approaching. This time Eli could see that the stranger coming along the road was an important-looking businessman. 'Surely he will stop and help me,' Eli thought hopefully.

But as the important-looking businessman got closer, instead of rushing across to help, he also crossed over to the other side of the road and continued on his journey, leaving Eli exactly where he was in the heat of the day.

After many more hours, Eli heard yet another sound - someone else was approaching along the road, riding on a donkey. This time, he didn’t even bother to raise his head to see who it was.

Eli was very surprised when he heard this new stranger coming nearer and nearer. This time, he looked up, and saw that this man was a Samaritan. All hope of being rescued faded away. 'This Samaritan won’t stop to help,' he thought. 'The Samaritans are our worst enemies. I shall surely be left here to die!’

To his amazement, the Samaritan didn’t cross over to the other side of the road once he had spotted the injured man. He didn’t carry on his journey as the other men had. Instead, he got off his donkey, and came towards Eli. Gently, the Samaritan examined and cleaned Eli’s wounds as best he could and finally helped him up onto the donkey’s back.

Very gently, the kind stranger led the donkey through the dusty hills, making sure that they avoided any very bumpy bits, so that Eli was as comfortable as he could be. Every so often, they stopped and the Samaritan raised water from his own bottle to the injured man’s dry and cracked lips for him to drink. When it got too hot for them to travel, he carefully lifted Eli from the donkey and they rested in the shade, under a tree, until the heat of the day was over.

At last, they reached a town and their long journey was over. Eli could hardly believe his eyes when the Samaritan led the donkey to the most expensive-looking inn in the town. He lifted Eli off the donkey and gently helped him inside. Then the Samaritan spoke to the innkeeper and insisted that Eli be given the very best of care. Eli was astonished by the stranger’s kindness.

The next day, although Eli was feeling much better, he was still in no fit state to travel. And so the Samaritan gave instructions that Eli should be allowed to stay at the inn until he was well again and gave a bag of money to the innkeeper to pay for all that was needed to make Eli well again. The kind stranger told the innkeeper that if it wasn’t enough, he would pay what was owed when he returned. And then he went on his way.

When he had finished the story, Jesus turned to the young man who had asked him the question and said ‘Now – who do you think was the good neighbour? The priest, the important businessman or the Samaritan?’

The young man replied ‘The Samaritan, of course!’ And Jesus said to him: ‘Go and live your life as a good neighbour like the Samaritan.’

Play next:

At the foot of the cross
The lamb's tale
The life of Saint Andrew