One day, a man said to Jesus, “Master, what must I do to gain heaven?”

Jesus said, “What do the scriptures say?”

“Love thy God with all your heart and mind and body, and love your neighbour as yourself.”

“You’ve answered correctly,” said Jesus. “Do this and you will gain eternal life.”

“That is all right,” said the man. “But I do not understand this thing about the neighbour. Who is my neighbour?”

Jesus said, “A man was going on a journey from Jerusalem to Jericho, and on the way he was set upon by robbers. They took his money and clothes, beat him mercilessly for resisting to part with his belongings and left him for dead on the highway. Sometime later a priest from a nearby synagogue came that way. When he saw the traveller lying on the road, bleeding and groaning, he muttered a prayer and hurried away.

Then a townsman came by. He was startled by the sight of a bloodied and moaning traveller lying in his path. Guessing that the unfortunate man had been robbed and not wishing to suffer the same fate, he nimbly stepped aside and went on his way.

Some time passed and then a Samaritan (inhabitant of the City of Samaria) came riding up on his donkey. He was in a great hurry but when he saw the traveller lying on the road and writhing in pain, he at once stopped to help. He washed the man’s wounds with whatever little water he had, bandaged them and then hoisting the man onto his donkey took him to the nearest inn. There, he arranged board and lodging and treatment for him, told the innkeeper he would pay on his return journey whatever extra money he spent on the man, and hurried away to make up for lost time.

“Now tell me,” said Jesus to the man who was questioning him, “which of these three men behaved like a neighbour?”

“The Samaritan,” said the man.” He showed fellowship and kindness of a neighbour to a total stranger.”

“Do so likewise,” said Jesus. “Every man in need is your neighbour.”

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