The Samaritan’s Journey

A man sat silent upon his donkey as it plodded slowly down the dusty road that linked the towns of Jericho and Jerusalem. He cast his eyes downward each time he passed a fellow traveler. Fellow Travelers? Hardly. For they were either Jews or Gentiles, while he was a half-breed Samaritan, accepted by neither group.

While stopped by a well to draw water for his donkey, he had to step away from the well when a priest and a Levite started coming towards him, and while the priest simply had a drink and continued on his way, the Levite chose to take a nap in the shade next to the well, so the Samaritan had to wait a full hour before he could finally draw water and continue on his way.

Shortly after his journey recommenced, he was startled to see a bloodied, mangled, wreck of a man lying by the side of the road.  From the amount of blood, the buzzing of flies, and the circling of carrion fowl, it was clear that this man…Jewish, judging by his tattered garments, must have been lying there well before either the priest or the Levite had passed by.

Hatred between their races was not merely tolerated, but encouraged, and so no one would have blamed him if he had continued on his way, especially as the injured man’s own religious leaders had done the same.

Instead, he stopped and dismounted.  With wine from his wine-skin, he washed the wounds.  With his own garments, he tore strips of cloth to staunch the flow of blood.  With his own animal, he transported the man to a place where he could recover.  With his own gold, he payed for the man’s care, and promised to return with more to pay any unexpected costs.

clouds of dust rise up
but he turns the way of love
and is a neighbour


13 thoughts on “The Samaritan’s Journey

  1. First of all I’m not a religious man, but the story of the Samaritan always stood out as the single most powerful parable in the bible… in all honesty I think if we could just live by that no matter of religion the world would be a better place.. and yes this is what neighbors should be. I’m moved.

    I loved how you changed the perspective from the wounded man to the Samaritan, also focusing on the scene on the well… this is a man who knows his place.

    Actually I heard a similar story from a friend, where a Roman beggar helped her to fix her bicycle, without asking for anything in return. All other rushed but the beggar who lost income by helping insisted on helping…

  2. Though I am familiar with the story, the retelling is meaningful and still resonates as it just happened today ~ If only we can show kindness and compassion to our fellow travelers ~ A lovely haibun ~

  3. Bryan, this wonderful haibun projects white light out into a plethora of dark poetics encountered out on the trail today. My family Thanksgiving was wonderful, yet we stopped at a point in the festive cheer to discuss the darkness, homeless, refugees, victims that are just outside the window.

  4. If only ‘love thy neighbor’ can be achieved.without the inherent violence. The way of the world is tainted with those powerful vying to impose their will over others. Wonderful haibun Bryan!


  5. I have no time for religion, after studying a few, but I have a lot of time for what I call God and I also believe that within all religions there are elements of insight, wisdom and profound spirituality and this story is one of them.

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