The long and winding Jericho Road connects Jerusalem to Jericho. My pastor had the chance to walk that road during his trip to Israel this past fall. He has been sharing the pictures and stories from that trip during our Wednesday night Bible Study and it has been fascinating to read corresponding Bible stories. Often those pictures have given me a whole new appreciation for the stories. The pictures of the Jericho Road last night were no exception in how the illuminated the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-36.
The photo on the right shows the Jericho Road. You can see the road right in the middle of the picture. See...it is right there...that small little path that is winding around the cliffs... It is narrow and has cliffs towering above it on the right and cliffs dropping off to the left. It isn't anything like the wide paved roads that we have in the Chicago area. (I use the term paved loosely. Have you seen the potholes?) The distance between Jericho and Jerusalem is about the same distance between my house and downtown Chicago. If I were to drive that trip I would likely take I-55 which we here call the Stevenson. As far as modern expressways go it isn't all that great and is often in need of repair. But it is enormous compared to the Jericho Road.
It would be very easy to travel down the Stevenson and not notice someone on the far side of the road. You could honestly pass someone by and not see them. Not so much on the Jericho road. There is no way that you could travel down the road and honestly miss seeing an injured person on the side of the road.
"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, 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."
There is no way that the priest or the Levite could have missed the injured man. The point that Jesus was making was that they obviously went around. It is something that I knew was a part of the story. But my perception of what a road looks like is very different than what the Jericho Road really is like. It really drives home how intentional I can be when I decide to ignore someone. While I might be able to fool myself, I cannot fool God. There is no claiming honest ignorance. God sees right through that and it is good for me to have a very different picture of the intentional actions of the priest and the Levite. Now I just need to make sure I have the same picture in mind when I think about ignoring someone.
Jericho Road picture courtesy Rev. Christopher Poest
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.