© 2014 John Casimir O'Keefe

The “New” Samaritan

A friend of mine (Sereta Richardson) said something that motivated me to rethink, and rewrite, the parable of “The Good Samaritan.” I hope you enjoy:

As Jesus was sharing with a group of people, a man who spent many years reading and studying the scriptures stood up and asked a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “What did our ancestors say? How do you interpret it?”

The man said, “That you love the Divine with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

Jesus smiled and replied, “Good answer! Now, live your life by doing just that and you will live.”

Now the man, like so many others, was looking for a loophole, a way out of having to do what he knew was right, so he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

Jesus smiled, sat back and said, “Let me share a story. There was once a man traveling for business from Portland to Seattle. On the way he was attacked by a group who took everything he had; they took all his money and left him naked on the side of the road. They beat him so badly they thought he was dead, so they went off leaving him as he was. Luckily, a Pastor from a local church was on his way to the Hospital to visit a sick church member. When the Pastor saw the man laying on the ground naked and covered in blood he crossed the street. He ignored the man and looked the other way. But as few moments later, as luck would have it, an good church-going person showed up, but he also avoided the injured man.”

“A few moments after the good church-going person passed the man by, an Atheist traveling in the opposite direction along the same road came upon the man. When he saw the man lying on the ground, naked and covered in blood, his heart went out to him. The Atheist gave him aid, bandaging his wounds, using his own clothes to cover the man, and caring for him as best he could. Seeing that the man needed more that he could offer, he helped the man into his car and drove him to the hospital. The Atheist spent the evening in the waiting room, waiting for news on the man’s condition. When the Doctor came out, he told the Atheist that the wounded man would be fine, but he needed to stay in the Hospital one more day to make sure. It was morning, and the Atheist needed to move on. So, he took a credit card and gave it to the Doctor and said, ‘Care for him, no matter the cost. If he stays longer and if you need more, here is my contact information. I will pay any bill he may incur.’”

After that story Jesus turned to the man who was seeking a way out and said, “So, what do you think? Of the three people, the Pastor, the church-goer, or the Atheist, who was a neighbor to the man attacked and left for dead on the side of the road?”

“The one who cared for him and took care of him regardless of the cost,” the man replied (using general terms because he was unable to say that the Atheist was the better person).

Jesus said, “Good, now simply go and do the same.”


  1. Posted 2014/07/29 at 4:49 pm | #

    Jesus had one understanding of eternal life, as I hear him speak through this story. Those who have eternal life are seen (detected, discerned) by whether, in fact, they live a life of abundant love and show themselves to be children of Our Father in Heaven.
    Jesus is also challenging our religious answer to the question of eternal life and who has eternal life. Our religious answer looks down on the atheist in this story, but in Jesus story it is the ‘atheist’ who is living the life of love and so qualifies as a child of the Father of love that Jesus portrayed to us.

  2. sondance
    Posted 2014/07/30 at 5:03 am | #

    nicely done

  3. Posted 2014/07/30 at 2:10 pm | #

    Hello, John! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

  4. john o'keefe
    Posted 2014/07/30 at 4:27 pm | #

    Richard and Mike – I had your post approved because I would love for others to get connected to Speakeasy – I think it is important for other voices to be heard – with that being said, let me share that I have known Mike for years and have been connected to Speakeasy since it started (and even in earlier incarnations) – 🙂

  5. Dan McCarter
    Posted 2014/08/07 at 3:17 am | #

    I like your new parables

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