Saturday November 3rd: 25 Cheshvan
It was on this day in the year 109 B.C. that King John Hyrcanus destroyed the city of Samaria, the capital of the Samaritans. Eventually, this day became a national holiday in Judea. However, the ancient sect of Samaritans has survived to this very day. For centuries, they were considered as an internal threat to Israel and to the Jews, primarily because of their mixed theology.
The animosity between the two groups is clear throughout the Gospels, so much so that Jesus uses the distain the Jews had for the Samaritans to make a point. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, He raised the issue of “Who is My Neighbor?” by pointing out that things are not always as they appear. He made it clear that one’s neighbor might be the last person you would expect and those you would expect to be so, don’t always behave in a neighborly manner. In this parable, He admonished His Jewish audience that the people they had been trained to despise are the neighbors they are commanded to love.
“If a man says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who loves not love his brother whom he has seen, how canhe love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20-21)
We tend to approve or disapprove of people by their appearances, especially if their appearances don’t live up to our religious convictions and requirements. As His people, we should not let our religious thinking cloud our view. We have to look beyond someone’s outward appearance and try to perceive their heart. We need to override our opinion and the expectations that we impose on others and train ourselves to look upon them, even those we don’t particularly like, with compassion and a genuine concern for their well-being. In the end, we might be surprised at what we find.