Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Brother not Bonded by Blood

Here is a story which I have written.  I doubt that it should be hard to see where I got my inspiration for it!

I came down the road from Jerusalem, intending to make my way to Jericho, a dangerous journey considering that we had heard threats of a new band of thieves terrorizing innocent travelers.  Probably more Zealots, nothing but troublemakers, I thought.  My business was urgent; my only sister was dying, and she had expressly asked for me.  I had hastily scrambled together the necessary items that I would need for the journey and left the city just before the gates closed for the night.
The sun was sliding down in the west, casting long, ominous shadows over the road, leaving good hiding places for highwaymen.  I was careful to keep an open eye for such bands.
Just as the moon began its round across the sky, the thieves jumped me.  They stole all that I had--my food, my money, even the gifts that I had for my sister's children.  They stripped the clothes from my back and beat me for sport.  An hour or so later they tired of me and left me for dead on the side of the road.
My entire body was aching, streaked with blood and dirt, bruised from their fists, and encrusted from my own vomit.  I could not do more than move my head a little, and though in plain sight of the road, I doubted that any more travelers would come along before morning.  The night proved to be a long one, for though I soon passed out from the pain, I woke and passed out again at least five or six times.
At length morning arrived, and I, being at the time awake, saw in the distance an early traveler on his way up to Jerusalem.  I raised my head weakly and saw that it was a priest of the Temple.  My heart became joyous, for surely this holy man of God would at least help me back to the city.  I forced out a moan through my cracked, parched lips, barely audible even by me.  The priest drew nearer, and I saw him look at me with disgust, draw his wide, blue-fringed robe closer about his body so as not to even risk touching my filthy body.
"Please help me!" I gasped, but he paid no further attention to me.  He merely walked on, his nose held up in the air.
I thought that God Himself must have forsaken me, if this worthy of the Law, one who was supposed to be generous to the needy, would not even lift a finger to help me.
I know not how the time passed from that moment, only that the sun grew increasingly hot, baking my wretched body and leaving me in an agony.  I wished to die.
But, Hark!  Another tread of footsteps came up the road.  With an effort surpassing the first time I lifted my head from the ground and called for help.  This time I saw an obviously religious man, one that I recognized as a Levite, whom I had often seen frequenting the Temple, who was reputed among us all to be extremely benevolent and holy.  Once again my heart leapt, for surely he would help me.
"Help!" was all I could manage to rasp out.  The Levite ambled up beside me and stared for a long time at my wounds.  Finally he turned and continued walking up to Jerusalem, saying nothing to me, but a look of great repugnance stamped on his features.  No help from him!  I then passed out, thinking with my last waking moment that I was surely dying.
I wakened to a soothing voice, and a feeling of relief.  My head was lying in the lap of a plain, brown robe, and I found myself looking up into the rough, sun-burnt, bushy-bearded face.  Gentle hands eased oil into a bloody gash across my forehead, and I felt the pleasant burn of alcohol as wine was poured into all of my cuts.  The man washed the dirt away with water, then bound me up tightly with strips of cloth torn from the hem of his robe.  I saw his donkey on the side of the road, and he, with a few grunts, lifted me onto it and settled me there.
"Who are you?" I groaned.
"Only a Samaritan," he said quietly.
For a moment I felt a twinge of revulsion that every decent Jew feels at the mention of the near curse-word.  I had been touched by a Samaritan.  Then it hit my fuzzy brain that I had been left by the priest and the Levite!  I had been helped by one of the cursed because the blessed had not deigned to soil their precious, holy hands.  The Samaritan was treating me like a brother because my brothers by blood had forsaken me.
He brought me to a small roadside inn.  Because I was too weak to protest, he paid for my lodging and board and for any medicine that I might need.  The last I ever saw of him, he said that he would pay any additional charges that might be made.
And where did my true brother go?  I know not, for I recovered quickly thanks to his generosity, and, remembering my sister, finished my journey to Jericho, where I saw that she was not on her deathbed at all, merely very sick.  After she recovered, I returned to the inn to give the keeper money for my lodgings, but he said that the Samaritan had been there and that everything was quite taken care of.  There was no need for me to worry about anything.
And that, my friends, is where I learned about true brotherhood.


  1. Very well written, Kathryn! When I usually read that story in the Bible, I don't think about the beaten man's feelings other than imagining the pain he was in. Thanks for posting!

    And my dear friend, if you think you need another award (which I think you do, stop over at Lianne Taimenlore! :D

  2. I love how you wrote this from the beaten man's perspective. I don't believe I've every seen this story from his perspective! I very much enjoyed reading it :)


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