A very short, short story based on the story of the Good Samaritan
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity…
He crouched down and looked at the man. His bare, torn flesh was open to the heat of the day and the birds of the air. The man’s clothes lay around, torn and useless. The Samaritan took the victim’s pulse. There was still time – if only he could get these wounds cleaned and bound – they would heal, and the man might be able to begin to get over this.
“Come on, there,” said the Samaritan, as he worked his arms under the man, to lift him, “let’s get you sorted out.”
To his surprise, the man became more alert. He slowly began speaking. He said, “Just put me down. Just leave me here. These are only flesh wounds. They’ll heal over eventually and leave me some scars, but I’ll be okay. It’s not as if it is the first time I have been beaten like this. And I hit back, too, you know. It’s just the way life is. ”
“Well, it shouldn’t be,” said the Samaritan. “Maybe once we get these wounds dealt with we could talk about the other beatings you’ve suffered? No one should have to put up with that.”
“No thanks. I don’t want your help. I’d rather just sort it out on my own.”
“Well, is there someone else I can get for you? Family maybe?”
“I haven’t seen my family in years. They did me more wrong than you would believe. I have nothing but hatred for them. If they came here to help, I’d use my last strength to spit on them.”
“So, it’s complicated, then?” said the Samaritan. “Life is, I suppose. But I don’t see how you think you can get through the next few hours without accepting my help. It’s insane.”
“How do you figure that? Have I not got the right to lie here in the still of the day and await my fate? Why must I, first of all, suffer the offence of the beating, then the systematic neglect from representatives of every part of society that came past? And now you? Why do you think it’s your place to stick your nose in where it’s not wanted? Of all people, why should I accept your help? I hate people like you.”
The Samaritan sat down on the dirt road next to the man, who fell into a fitful sleep, intermittently broken by heat and pain. And the Levites and Priests and farmers and children and officials and vagrants continued to walk past, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. And the Samaritan wept, as his willingness waited in the sun.