Same old story you say ...hardly worth a yawn?
No! It is much more than a story. It is a teaching and a multifaceted one at that.
This is the genius of Jesus' parabolic technique. No matter who, when or where you are there is going to be a timely message for you.
Jesus is literally speaking to "one ...and all."
We are told that a Scribe, a teacher of the Law of Moses, stood up to test Jesus. A careful reading of what came next indicates that this lawyer was far more broadminded and inclusive than were his contemporaries.
He was testing Jesus with the hope of discovering a soul mate in this bright young Rabbi from the North.
To his question "Who is my neighbour?" he wanted the simple answer, "everyone." But instead Jesus tells him a story, a parable that will serve to confirm his attitude and strengthen his conviction sufficiently so as to move him to the next level.
The story that Jesus most probably made up was very believable in its context. The only road between Jericho and Jerusalem was about 20 miles of wild desolate hill country infested with all sorts of thieves and brigands.
The victim was a Jew. Two of his fellow countrymen, both ministers of religion, seemingly agreed with each other not to get involved and thus left him to his fate even though by all that was truly holy he was their neighbour.
Enter the Samaritan, a man one would have expected to have been violently hostile toward all Jews as a result of seven hundred years of feuding between these two Semitic peoples. Their territories adjoined but they certainly were never considered to be neighbours.
We are all familiar with what happened next as the Samaritan gentleman went well beyond all boundaries in his efforts to provide for the helpless traveler.
As always, Jesus not only makes his point but raises the anti, insisting upon our being more than just minimally charitable and encouraging us to walk the extra mile or two as needed.
There is no such sin as loving. We need never fear Jesus accusing us of having loved too long nor too deeply ...too indiscriminately nor too generously.