Jericho Roads

art_TheGoodSamaritan-w

TheDiscipleMD

We all know the story:

“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds…and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.” (Luke 10:30-34)

Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

“On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial.”

Dr. King’s vision was grand and on a national scale. And while perhaps none of us have the ability to transform the nation and its social structure, all of us have within us the power to influence and bring about change on the Jericho Roads in  the neighborhoods and communities wherein we live.  We can help accomplish this by choosing to treat others as we would like to be treated.  Christ’s charge to love our neighbor as ourselves is a simple yet profound way of changing Jericho Roads where we reside. When is the last time we went out of our way to help someone in need without expectation of reward?

In the late 70’s I found myself stranded on a Jericho Road in a major downtown city.  My car had run out of gas on the way to work.  I had to abandon my car till I could procure some petro. By the time I could get back to my car it was several hours later.  The co-worker who brought me back to my car drove off and  left me standing next to it as I poured gasoline into the bone dry gas tank.  I jumped into the car and turned the key.  To my surprise the car didn’t make a sound. Not even a click.  “What?” I thought. I knew the car was out of gas so I couldn’t figure out why the car wouldn’t even turn over.  I got out of the car and  popped the hood.  Much to my surprise I found that someone had stolen the battery out of the car while it had been sitting on the side of the highway.  I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there staring at the empty spot that once housed my battery.  I can’t properly communicate in words my frustration level.

Just then a car pulled over beside my car. I put my hands up to block out the sun and spied  a Chey Van that was typical of the 70’s. It was beat up and painted in psychedelic colors.  The door opened and out stepped a  thirty something guy who could best be described as ‘Huggy Bear’, a character out of a police drama of the day called ‘Starksky and Hutch.’ He was wearing a fur hat and a big smile and looked every bit the part of a man who dealt in the peddling of the flesh.  As he walked towards me I wasn’t sure if I should run or embrace him.  He stuck out his hand and asked me what was the problem.  When I explained that my battery had been stolen he smiled and said, “This is a bad place to have your car break down. Let me see what I can do.” He walked over to his van, opened the sliding door and started rummaging inside.  I walked over to the van and looked inside.  The inside of the van was shag carpeted from the top to the bottom in a lime green color that shouted out to be noticed.  He pulled out some jumper cables and walked over to my car.  He then asked me how far I needed to go before I could get some help. “Only a few miles” I told him. “Great”, he replied. Then he did something that I had never seen.  He backed the front of his van up to my car and hooked his battery up by cables to my alternator. Then, smiling, he said, “You will be able to go a few miles running off the alternator.” He told me to get into the car and start her up, which I did.

I thanked him and watched as he pulled away.  He waved and I instinctively waved back. He wasn’t of my color, he wasn’t of my social class and he probably wouldnt’ have been someone who would have been part of my social circle . Yet,  as I got back in my car, I couldn’t help but think how sad it was that I had made a quick and unflattering assessment of my “Good Samaritan.” By his actions that day, he helped me see that, all of us, no matter what station in life we hold, can change Jericho Roads in the places wherein we live.  So all these years later I remember Mr. Huggy Bear, and I echo the words of the Savior when he proclaimed,   “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

 

Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.

Designed by ThemePix