I’ve read the story of the Good Samaritan a number of times, and whenever I do, I insert myself into the story, trying to imagine what part I’d play. Would I be the religious guy, who walks right by the guy in need? Or would I be the Good Samaritan, pulling off to the side of the road to help?
What I’d never really considered before is that sometimes I’m the other guy—the beat-up one who needs medical attention and shelter.
Five days after my husband and I bought our house, we returned home from work and opened the back door to hear the kind of gushing sound typically reserved for a wave pool or, say, Niagara Falls. Not usually an auspicious sign when you’re at an indoor venue.
We opened the basement door to find that water was gushing through one of the windows, creating a pool deep enough (if not clean enough) to swim in.
Welcome to home ownership!
Since this is our first real home, we didn’t have any of the tools or accoutrements you might need to de-swimming-pool a basement. Like it or not, we were officially the guy on the side of the road.
Thankfully, God sent us Good Samaritans—several of them.
Our Good Samaritan looked like my dad, who scrapped the work he needed to do that night to come over with his extra sump pump and wade through the murky waters in our basement.
Our Good Samaritan looked like our new neighbors, who shared all manner of tools and advice. (That wasn’t exactly the way I planned to meet my neighbors: showing up like a drowned rat on their front porch, asking for help!)
Our Good Samaritan looked like my mom, who opened the front door after the rain had cleared to reveal a gorgeous sunset. “This is like your rainbow after the Flood,” she said. “God is reminding you that it’s going to be okay.”
Our Good Samaritan looked like the friend who emailed at 11:02 p.m., just after we returned from a late-night supply run to Walmart, to say that she felt prompted to pray for us and our new house.
This is the other side of grace, I think: the receiving, not just the giving; the getting bandaged, not just the care-taking.
We learn something about ourselves, and about God, when we’re in either pair of shoes (wet and squishy though those shoes may be).
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
When have you been the Good Samaritan? When have you been the guy on the side of the road? What did these experiences show you about grace?