At Petra in Jordan: My Muslim “Good Samaritan”

I want to share a story with my Christian readers about a young man I call my Muslim “Good Samaritan.” Why tell this story of my interaction with this young man? It’s easy. It’s simply because some Christians – sadly. . .and sinfully – have few good thoughts about Muslims (it pains me to write those words but it is true). I want to change that! I have met so many Muslims in the U.S. and overseas who are a whole lot like those of you who call yourselves Christians: they just want to make a living, raise children, and live in peace. They are generally kind, hospitable, decent people who seek to please God with how they live their lives.

So. . .here is the story of my Muslim “Good Samaritan.” While in Jordan this winter, my wife and I went to one of the most amazing places in the Middle East: Petra (see picture above). We had taken a bus to Petra from Amman, Jordan which was over three hours away. When it was time to return, we missed the bus (long story). I actually ran to catch it and saw a young man ahead of me who was running faster. I recognized him from being on the bus and yelled to him to ask him if he would hold the bus for us. He said he would but when we got to the place where the bus was to take us back, it was gone. . .and so was the young man!

We were totally out of breath from running and totally perplexed as to what to do to get back to Amman without paying a huge fee for a taxi. After about 5 minutes, a taxi did drive up beside us. In the passenger seat was the young man — Omar. He had caught a taxi to chase down the bus but instead of easily doing that and saving himself a lot of time, money, and hassle, he remembered us and came back for us. He had kept his promise! After a 20 minute ride by the speeding taxi driver, we caught up with the bus and got back on using our original tickets. We had spent the last of the money we had with us so Omar paid the taxi driver too!

Again, for those of you who are reading this post who think of yourselves as Christians, I want you to see that Omar practiced the “love your neighbor” teaching of Jesus regarding the Good Samaritan in the New Testament Bible story of Luke 10:25-37. In that story, the last person the Jews expected to take care of the beaten man was a “Samaritan.” I think many Christians in the 21st century are kind of like Jesus’ Jewish listeners in the 1st century – filled with prejudice, too easily influenced by stereotypes, and afraid of people who they think are “not like us.” Sadly, they can’t believe a “Muslim” would do something to help a non-Muslim at their own inconvenience or cost.

I am here to tell you that they can.

Like this young “Good Samaritan,” they do.

I love them for it.

I love Muslims.

8 thoughts on “At Petra in Jordan: My Muslim “Good Samaritan”

    • Rick, that is a very sad story of a Muslim convert who sounded like a true “Good Samaritan.” Only God will be able to properly judge the actions of those who beheaded this doctor who apparently helped so many. May God have mercy on them. As Jesus prayed so incredibly, “Father, forgive them. . .”

  1. Thank you, Mark for sharing the story. I also ran into so many people here in Canada who helped me regardless of religion or ethnicity. This is the way people start to change their mentality. I think it all starts like this, by opening up to others, and as you call it constructing bridges of dialogue based on love and forsaking all stereotypes.
    I understand the reprimanding tone in your speech towards some christian people who may have low opinion of their Muslim brethren. Please allow me to expand this reprimand to include all Muslims and Christians (and even other people) who have the same judgmental mind set.
    In that regard, let me share with you a story that happened with me recently. I work in a laboratory in which there are about 15 people only. It happened that someone joined the group and he was also Jordanian. I told myself “Wow, what are the odds that there could be 2 persons from a tiny country like Jordan in this lab?” Lately, another guy from Jordan came and we ended up 3 persons from Jordan in the same lab. (almost 20 % of the lab). Coincidentally, the two Jordanians are Christians.
    Here is the interesting part, I was conversing with one of those guys. So, we came across the subject of how Christians are treated in Jordan. I asked him whether there is any discrimination against them there, since I never lived in Jordan (I spent most of my life in Kuwait). I liked his answer, he said: “There is no single rule ,that I know of, against Christian people that discriminate them. Here I am, a Christian student granted a scholarship by my university to pursue my study abroad.” Then, he continues “The only situation that you may face discrimination or someone snapping at you is if someone is coming from far away and hears the word “Christian” for the first time in his life”.
    It reminded me of what an American once said, that he once asked his father about what Muslims think of God and Jesus. His father told him “They don’t like Jesus, and they don’t believe in God. They worship a big “black box” in Mecca”.
    What is common between the two stories is ignorance of people. Ignorance and making prejudgments are the main impediments. Therefore, I think the first step towards building bridges is to know each other and open up.

    • Omar,

      So good to hear again from you! You are a very thoughtful young man.

      I so appreciate the two stories you told. Yes, ignorance is such an enemy to bridge-building between Muslims and Christians. It truly leads to the prejudgments that you mentioned. That is why we often speak in churches: to get Christians to lay down their fears and anger toward Muslims (mostly because of 9-11). Really, to lay down their fears and angers to God Himself — and to repent of any hateful thoughts. We also challenge them to get to know a Muslim for themselves. As you said, “to know each other and open up.”

      I believe that the Lord told me one day, “I want you to bring Muslims and Christians together and watch what I will do.” This is my passion. This is my calling. And I love it.

    • Daud,

      First of all, thanks for reading the blog.

      Second, I pray that if God wants you to go to America, He will provide a way. America is a great place but it is not perfect. He may want to use you in Kenya for greater purposes. For His glory. Keep seeking His will. Proverbs 3:5-6.

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