The Jews and the Samaritans did not get along with each other. The Jews did not like the people who lived in Samaria. They thought they were better than the Samaritans and tried not to travel in their land. If they saw Samaritans, they would not talk to them.
But Jesus taught that you should treat people just as you would like them to treat you. Could that mean treating people kindly even if you didn’t know them or if they were Samaritans?
Jesus said people should love their neighbors. But was a neighbor only someone who lived nearby or someone who was like you? Jesus told a story to help the people understand how they should treat others.
In the story a Jewish man was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. It was a dangerous road that climbed through steep hills. Thieves would often hide behind big rocks and then try to stop and rob travelers.
The thieves attacked the man and hurt him badly. They took his clothes and left him by the side of the road to die.
A priest traveling on the road saw the wounded man. But he hurried to the other side of the road and went on his way.
Next, a Levite man came by and saw the injured man. He too crossed to the other side and hurried by, not stopping to help.
Last, a man from Samaria came by. When he saw the Jewish man who had been attacked, he felt compassion and stopped to help.
The Samaritan washed and bound up the man’s wounds and took him to an inn, where he could rest and get food. The Samaritan paid the host money to care for the wounded man until the man was well.
The Samaritan showed the wounded man kindness and mercy. He treated him like a neighbor.
Jesus wants us to treat others as the good Samaritan did.