THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Prayer: Father, Mother, God; Help us to help those who are struggling through this day. Neighbor, relative, stranger or friend, where we see a need, rather than walk away may we stop awhile and share a hand, a listening ear, a smile, a prayer, compassion, love, just as you would do. AMEN.
I would like to talk, today, about the stories in the Bible about Samaritans. Everyone knows the parable of the Good Samaritan and we have all used the phrase 'good Samaritan.' One of the well-known lessons of this parable is that anyone in need is our neighbor, without reference to his nationality, religion, or character. Jesus told us, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."a
GOOD SAMARITAN PARABLE
So this is how the story goes:
"A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?"
He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
So likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"
He said, "The one who showed him mercy."
Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise.""b
GOOD SAMARITAN MEANING
This story has such impact because the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. They were considered second class citizens because they were a mixture of Assyrian and Hebrew. They were half-breeds. They claimed to be direct descendants of Abraham, and taught the books of Moses, but they were not recognized by the Jews as followers of the Jewish religion.
Charles Fillmore wrote in The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, that "the Samaritans signify mixed thoughts, partly worldly and partly religious. Metaphysically Samaria represents a state of consciousness in which Truth and error are mixed."c
The leading characteristics of the Samaritan in this parable are kindheartedness, helpfulness, and generosity. He typifies the traits that make religion a living, spiritual, uplifting power. The activities of these spiritual qualities are the stepping-stones that lead to great demonstrations. They are the forces that throw open the doors of the inner kingdom, so that our consciousness may be lifted up and merged with the God consciousness. To everyone who wishes to triumph and attain eternal life, Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."
There are two principal lessons in Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan. One is that we keep the law of eternal life by loving God; the other is that we keep this law by expressing love for our neighbor.
Metaphysically a man's neighbor is his nearest and most intimate embodied thought. The body is our nearest and most intimate embodied thought; therefore, the body is our neighbor.
The man who was stripped and beaten and left half dead symbolizes the physical body that is in a similar condition. The robbers are our negative thoughts that rob our body of its energy and substance.
The priest and the Levite represent the ignorance and the indifference to Truth that are found in both formal religion and law.
The Good Samaritan is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."d Sacerdotalism, the belief that priests act as mediators between God and humans.disdains the inner Christ, but without His ministry the body would never be healed of its many wounds. The "animal" is the divine-natural substance; the "oil" is love, and the "wine" is life.
The parable of the good Samaritan teaches that the body is being robbed of its life by ignorant, lawless thoughts, and that that life will be restored by Christ if we exercise His merciful, healing love. Thus, this parable helps one to attain eternal life.
THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL
There is another story about a Samaritan that I would like to read to you:
"Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?"
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never by thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."
Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back."
The woman answered him, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!"
The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (who is called Christ). When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us."
Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."
Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or "Why are you speaking with her?" Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?" They left the city and were on their way to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something."
But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."
So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?"
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, 'One sows, and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done." So, when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.""e
WOMAN AT THE WELL INTERPRETATION
In the book Mysteries of John Charles Fillmore writes, "The name Samaria means "watchtower"; and Samaria represents that department of the objective consciousness which functions through the head. The name Sychar (sy' char) means "drunken," and the place symbolizes a confused state of mind. Sychar was located near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; physiologically it corresponds to the forehead, seat of intellectual perception. Here also is Jacob's well- inspiration through the intellect alone."f
But Jesus, the I AM, encompasses the whole person, from within to without, and the I AM "rests" at the point where the intellectual and the spiritual meet.
Jesus preached one of His greatest sermons to the woman at the well; she was a Samaritan, a heathen. "(Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)." Her highest concept of God was that of a being who had to be worshiped in some temple in Jerusalem or in a certain mountain. Jesus told her, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
If we want to worship God, we must know where He is and how to approach Him. Many religions teach that God lives in heaven and that heaven is located somewhere in the sky. But this teaching leaves us with a consciousness of separation from God, and our approach to Him is uncertain, to say the least.
But the truth of God is that He is omnipresent Spirit. He shows himself to our mind when we think of Him as one with us in Spirit. God responds to our every thought. This is knowing God as He is.
Jesus told the woman that salvation came from the Judeans. He was saying that salvation comes from the spiritual-minded. God is Spirit and we are His spiritual offspring.
The "spring of water gushing up to eternal life" is the source of Christ inspiration within our consciousness. When we break through the ego and material thinking, this inner spiritual life flows forth peacefully. It vitalizes and renews our mind and body. In the clear light of Truth, we are conscious of life as unchanging and eternal.
The Samaritan woman represents the duality of the soul or subconscious mind. It is not the true source of wisdom, although many Truth students fail to distinguish between its revelations and those of Spirit. In Hindu metaphysics it is known as the human and animal soul.
The Samaritans claimed to be descendants of Jacob and Abraham. They used portions of the Hebrew Scriptures, but the Israelites saw them as not true followers of Jehovah, but as pretenders.
But our souls must have Truth and Christ recognizes the soul as worthy; so, this wonderful lesson is given to one person, even though it is a female and a Samaritan. The soul draws its life from both the earthly side of existence (Jacob's well) and the spiritual (the Jew), but is destined to draw from a higher source, omnipotent Spirit. Jesus asked the woman for a drink, which indicates the universality of the spiritual life, present in the Samaritan woman as well as in Jesus.
"The gift of God" to man is eternal life. When the soul knows this, it asks the Father for the manifestation of this life, and there gushes forth a never-failing stream. But where sense consciousness is dominant the soul is slow to see the realities of ideas, thoughts, and words. Our sight gets fixed on materials ways and means: "You have no bucket, .... Where do you get that living water?" Like many today, she is asking for a material explanation of spiritual things.
The Christ knows our thoughts and reads the history of the soul just like an open book. When Jesus displayed this ability to the woman, she at once had faith in Him and accepted Him as a prophet. It wasn't because she understood His doctrine, but because He had told her of her past: "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done!"
We get so attached to localities, forms, and conditions in the world. We believe in the importance of places of worship and in the observance of outward forms and ceremonies. The Mind of Spirit, though, puts all such formalities aside and proclaims the universality of spiritual forces. "God is spirit." "You will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem." When we fall into forms of worship, we fail to get the true understanding, but the Christ-minded know Spirit. They enter into the consciousness of the formless life and substance, and they are satisfied.
The Jews represent spiritual understanding and inspiration; the Gentiles represent material understanding. Salvation comes only through spiritual inspiration. This is the inner interpretation of Jesus' words "salvation is from the Jews."
The "woman of Samaria" is a combination of the intellectual and emotional side of the soul. Jesus met her beside Jacob's well (inspiration through the intellect alone) in the city of Sychar (a confused state of mind). The I AM (Jesus) has power to harmonize the intellect by the power of Spirit. But before the I AM can do this; it must get the intelligent attention of the mixed state of consciousness symbolized by Sychar and the Samaritans.
Being a combination of both Hebrew and heathen blood, the Samaritans were a mixed race; the woman at the well recognized the separation that exists between absolute Truth and the mixed thoughts of intellect. Jesus is not afraid of being contaminated by such communion. He is willing to take in the inspiration of this realm of mind, and in so doing He comes in touch with its interests.
The Jesus consciousness is appealing to intellectual people to recognize the gift of God, the Spirit of universal love and brotherhood. It invites their thoughts to receive the living inspiration, which may be had for the asking. But we must ask. "Ask, and you will receive."g
The questioning, analytical attitude taken by the woman at the well represents the tendency of intellect to argue: "I see no visible means whereby you can get the everlasting water of life. Are you greater than all the precedents and antecedents of intellectual inheritance and experience?" These assumptions of the spiritual-minded that they have a truth higher than human reason seem to be farfetched. These are but a few of the many questions and objections of the intellectually wise.
Nevertheless spiritual perception continues to affirm that it has the inspiration that is always there for us. The mortal understands so little that it is constantly asking for more. It is never satisfied with itself or with the knowledge that it finds; but whoever drinks of the true spiritual inspiration will never thirst. It will prove a "spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
The outer symbol of worship is adoration and homage; but worship in Spirit and Truth involves absolute union with the character of the object of worship. Therefore, in order to fulfill the requirements of spiritual worship, a right understanding of God and a development in ourselves of His Spirit are necessary.
On the divine side of his being man makes contact with spiritual ideas, which are the source of external substance or food. The natural man (represented by the disciples) thinks that the substance necessary for food must be put through the material process of planting and harvesting, but in Spirit the pure substance is always at hand ready to be appropriated by the inner consciousness. In states of high spiritual realization, the desire for material food vanishes. Jesus fasted for forty days and "afterward hungered."
There are always those at hand who need help, and that is our chance to administer aid. The woman who received help from Jesus at the well fled to the city to tell the people of Him. The result was that many came to Him, and He ministered to them all, proving that salvation is for all alike. "God is no respecter of persons." Salvation comes to everyone who assimilates and appropriates these truths and lets them find expression in and through him. Jesus healed and freed those to whom He ministered, and they believed, not because of what the woman said but because they themselves witnessed what Jesus Himself did.
So, how do we achieve this high spiritual view? By being like the Good Samaritan; kind, helpful, and generous. We need to keep the two Laws that Jesus considered most important. We need to love God and love our neighbor as our self. We need to drop all our prejudices about people and learn to see the Christ within them. We need to reach out as Jesus did, because there are many who need our help in these trying times.
Prayer: Father, Mother, God; bless the good neighbors, who call to check that all is well, and share a cup of tea and chat with those who struggle to get out, and whose gentle act of service brings a ray of light into a day that would otherwise be cheerless. Bless them, and all who likewise give of their time for others in following your good example, that this might become a better and more caring world in which to live. AMEN.
cThe Metaphysical Bible Dictionary
fMysteries of John Charles Fillmore