The Good Samaritan

In the United States, you may find a lot of hospitals named “Good Samaritan Hospital”, and some organizations also named “Good Samaritan Society”. In the USA, there is even a law call “Good Samaritan Law”. Samaritans are a people in the Mideast, why do people love to use “Good Samaritan” as their name? Nobody uses “Good American”, “Good Chinese”, or “Good British” as a company name or organization name. What does “Good Samaritan” mean? Why does “Good Samaritan” become a popular name in some English speaking countries?

If you only look at the two words “Good” and “Samaritan”, they may not give you much meaning; but there is a story behind these two words. If you don’t know the story, you may not fully understand the meaning of “Good Samaritan”.

You may find that story in the gospel of Luke, chapter10, verses 25 ~ 37. It says:

 

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus then replied with a story:

“A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along, but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

 

在美国,你会发觉很多医院是以“好萨马利亚人”来命名的,不仅如此有些社团也以“好萨马利亚人”作为社团的名字。在美国,甚至有称谓“好萨马利亚人”的法律。萨马利亚人是中东地区的一个民族,但是为什么在一些说英语的国家里“好萨马利亚人”这个名字那么流行?没有听说过有人用“好美国人”、“好中国人”、或者“好英国人”来作为公司商家或者社团的名字,偏偏用“好萨马利亚人”来作名字,这是为什么呢?搜查“百度”也没有关于这个的解释,“好萨马利亚人”到底有什么特殊的意义呢?

如果你单纯看这两个英文字“好”和“萨马利亚人”,你不一定能看出太多的意义,但是在这两个字的后面有一个故事。如果你不知道这个故事的话,你就无法完全了解这两个字所表示的全部意思了。

你可以在圣经路加福音第十章,二十五节到三十七节里看到这个故事:

一天,有一位犹太教律法的专家来向耶稣挑衅,问耶稣“夫子,我当怎样行才能承受永生?”

耶稣回答说,“摩西的律法是怎么写的,你没有念过吗?”那专家就回答说,“当尽心、尽性、尽力地爱你的主上帝;要爱你的邻舍如同你自己一样。”耶稣说,“回答得好!按这个去做,你就可以得到永生。”那个专家为了表示自己很懂,就又追问耶稣说,“那谁是我的邻舍呢?”

耶稣就用一个比喻对他说:

有一个人从耶路撒冷到耶利哥城去,不幸在路途中遭到强盗的抢劫,强盗还剥去他的衣服,又把他打得半死,然后才把他丢在路旁。事后,有一个犹太教的祭司也从这条路走过,远远看到这个被抢劫的人,就避开他,绕道从路的另一边走过去了。又有一个利未人,应该是个虔诚犹太教徒,也从这里经过。当他看到了这个遭到抢劫的人的时候,他也与前面那位祭司一样,绕道走过去了。然后有一个被人看不起的萨马利亚人也从这里经过,看到了那个遭到抢劫又受了伤的人,他就动了慈悲的心,上前用油和酒倒在那人的伤口上,又把那人的伤口包扎好,然后再把那个人扶上他自己骑的性口上,把他送到一家旅店里去照料他。第二天,那个萨马利亚人对店小二说,“这里是二钱银子,你且照应那个受伤的人,如果所用的费用超过这些,我回来的时候一定来还你。”

说完这个比喻,耶稣就问那个专家,“你说,那三个人中,哪一个是那落在强盗手中的邻舍呢?”

那专家说,“是那个怜悯他的那一位。”耶稣说,“那你就照样行吧。”