Few of Jesus’ parables had the shock value of the parable of the Good Samaritan. In 722 B.C. Assyria conquered Israel and took most of its people into captivity. The invaders then brought in Gentile colonists “from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim” (2 Kin. 17:24) to resettle the land. The foreigners brought with them their pagan idols, which the remaining Jews began to worship alongside the God of Israel (2 Kin. 17:29-41). Intermarriages also took place (Ezra 9:1-10:44;Neh. 13:23-28 ).
Meanwhile, the southern kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon in 600 B.C. Its people, too, were carried off into captivity. But 70 years later, a remnant of 43,000 was permitted to return and rebuild Jerusalem. The people who now inhabited the former northern kingdom—the Samaritans—vigorously opposed the repatriation and tried to undermine the attempt to reestablish the nation. It was the Samaritans who heckled the Jews of Ezra, and tried to undermine the Jewish efforts to rebuild the wall and get the people back upon the road to faithfulness. For their part, the full-blooded, monotheistic Jews detested the mixed marriages and worship of their northern cousins. So walls of bitterness were erected on both sides and did nothing but harden for the next 550 years.
Samaritans were considered half breeds of the Jewish people. It was not racism necessarily that was at the heart of their hatred for one another, it was competition for the land, competition for theological orthodoxy, and competition about the theology of Temple; the place the very presence of God was to dwell–that was at the heart of this struggle. As you read the text imagine who might be a bitter adversary in our world today in areas of theological purity, nationalistic visions of how to make the world a better place, and even those across the racial divide from you.
Lectio Divina Instructions
Lectio Divina (or divine reading) is a spiritual reading of scripture. We come to the scripture not
for study only, but approach the text in a sense with openness to receive from God. The traditional lectio framework has four distinct stages outlined in the instructions below.
Reading God’s word (Lectio)
Read Luke 10:25-37 slowly twice (this is the larger reading from a physical bible). If you are doing this in a group have the listeners close their eyes to help them focus on hearing. As you read listen for a word or phrase that seems “illuminated” for you. Sit in silence a couple minutes.
Reflecting on God’s word (Meditatio)
Read the passage again. During the silence reflect on how the passage speaks to your life today.
Responding to God (Oratio)
Read Luke 10:25-37 again. During the few minutes of silence consider how God is calling you to
respond. Pray and tell Jesus your intended response to what you have heard. It might be praise or action of some kind, or something to think further on etc.
Resting in God (Contemplatio)
Read verses Luke 10:25-37 one final time. Rest in the words in silence for a few minutes. Close in prayer.