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Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales

Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

The Good Samaritan

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway along the road to Jericho. A Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was and took pity on him.  He bandaged his wounds and brought him to an inn. ‘Look after him,’ he said to the innkeeper, ‘I will reimburse you for any expense you may have.’

The man shook his head when he heard this. ‘This isn’t good enough,’ he declared, ‘I gave those robbers everything I have so I could be brought to Jericho. This inn is nowhere near that city. I may as well be in Africa for all the good it is. After all, I am a refugee who risked my life fleeing war.’

‘You travelled from Jerusalem, a city at peace. What war were you fleeing there?’ asked the Samaritan.

The man ignored the question and shot back, ‘Do you live in Jericho?’ 

‘Why, yes.’

‘Very well. I demand that you accommodate me. My simple act of setting out on a journey to your home means I have the right to settle there.’ 

A priest happened to be going down the same road, so too, a Levite. They passed by on the other side to get to their Press Office and unanimously agreed to issue a statement denouncing the Samaritan for his lack of compassion. 

‘How immoral it is of the Samaritan not to bring the man in to his own home. Regardless of expense, the man should be accommodated in Jericho, just because he fancies living there. Why else would he make such a hazardous cross-country journey from war-torn Jerusalem, giving money to ruthless profiteers as he travels?’