In my last post, I wrote about a wonderful young man in Petra, Jordan who was my Muslim “Good Samaritan.” Jesus told a story (Injeel – Luke 10:25-37) about the original Good Samaritan – a kind and caring traveler who came upon an injured man on a dangerous road between Jerusalem and Jericho. The injured man had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead. The Samaritan man who found him took care of the man at his own personal risk and expense. Since then, people who go out of their way to help others in their time of need are often called “Good Samaritans.” This post is about a wonderful man in Jeruslem (Al-Quds) who was another Muslim “Good Samaritan” that God sent my way in my time of need.
While in Jerusalem last winter, I took a taxi from Jerusalem to Bethlehem for a conference on Palestinian rights. On the way back, I wanted to save money so I decided to walk to a checkpoint and get a taxi on the other side rather than taking a taxi the long way home. After I walked quite a ways, I found a checkpoint in Bethlehem manned by Israeli soldiers who were checking a long line of cars. I was the only one on foot, which seemed strange to me. As I tried to approach the front of the line to walk through, the soldiers yelled something in Hebrew – obviously waving me away from that place. They had guns and I was definitely out of my comfort zone: lost, tired, hungry, and confused as to how to get back to my guest house in Jeruslem. I prayed and walked around the neighborhood for another 30 minutes trying to find the right checkpoint. I finally found it. It turned out that I had earlier been at a checkpoint for cars, not the walk-through pedestrian one!
So. . .after wandering dark streets for over an hour, I made it through the correct walkthrough checkpoint. I was excited — expecting that I would find a taxi on the other side to take me back to Jerusalem. But. . .it was Sabbath. The streets were deserted. No taxis. No anyone! I prayed, “God, what should I do?!”
It seemed that I should walk north toward Jerusalem. Seeing where the moon was, I figured out what direction that was and headed that way. After walking and walking again for over half an hour on dark, empty (and potentially dangerous?) streets, I saw an intersection in the distance. I felt like the Lord was telling me to go there and wait — that He had a person to take me back but that I just needed to be patient. I praised Him for His help and care for me and walked to the intersection and waited.
Finally a taxi van pulled up driven by a Muslim man named Majed who was with his family for an outing to visit friends. They were on their way home and he was off duty but he kindly stopped to help me. He offered to drive me back to my guest house in Jerusalem for a very modest sum of money. After such a long time of wandering around on deserted and dark streets, this Muslim man rescued me. I was exhausted and hungry but so relieved – so thankful to the Lord and to Majed and his family.
You see, this “Good Samaritan” was put in my life by God to rescue me in a difficult time of physical lostness. I believe God put me in his life for us to dialogue about the amazing God of Heaven who wants to rescue all of us from our spiritual lostness! When Muslims and Christians are brought together by God like this, there is always a great opportunity to talk together in a mutually respectful way about God, Jesus, heaven, and hell. There is always a great opportunity to tear down walls and build bridges of friendship, trust, and understanding.
“Thank You, God, for Majed. For rescuing me through him on that dark, lonely night in Jerusalem. Thank You for yet another Muslim ‘Good Samaritan’!”