Samaritan Jesus

Samaritan Jesus

October 09, 2016
Written by Mary Luti

"But one of them, seeing he was healed, returned and… fell facedown at his feet, thanking him. And he was a Samaritan."—Luke 17:15-17
Jews weren't fond of Samaritans, to say the least. Everything we say about groups we hate was said about them: they got religion wrong, they thought they were better than you, they were strange, standoffish, dangerous, lazy, immoral.
But Jesus had a thing for Samaritans.
Most people detoured around Samaria. Jesus went through. When one village wouldn't let them in, his disciples thought it'd be a good idea to kill them for being so uppity. Jesus rebuked them. That's Bible-speak for ‘told them to shut up.'
At Jacob's well, a Samaritan woman gave him some lip when he asked her for water. They ended up talking metaphysics and relationships. By the time they were done, they'd both had a very deep drink.
He cast a Samaritan as the selfless hero of one of his best stories, forever leaving us no choice but to imagine that an enemy could be ‘good.'
And when a Samaritan leper showed up among ten needing a cure, it wouldn't surprise me if Jesus already knew he'd be the one, the only one, who'd return to say thanks.
Jesus had a thing for Samaritans. So much so that his fulminating adversaries taunted him as a 'Samaritan-lover.' That's like saying N-word-lover, Mexican-lover, Queer-lover, Immigrant-lover, Muslim-lover.
I bet Jesus bore the taunt proudly. Or maybe humbly. Because one of the things you discover when you acquire a thing for outsiders and enemies is that you could do a lot worse in life than be just like them.


Jesus, give me a thing—your thing—for everybody who is somebody's other. Amen.

About the Author
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.

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