Most people have heard the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:30-37:
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two [a]denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
But did you know that the Samaritan people still exist today? According to a CBS poll, only 14% of Americans know of these modern people (there are about 750 of them left) who live in Israel and in part of the Palestinian West Bank called Samaria.
Modern Samaritans speak Arabic and Hebrew but aren’t Arabs or Jews. They trace their lineage back 3345 years and the High Priest Eleazar ben-Tsedaka claims to be a direct descendant of Moses’ brother Aaron.
According to tradition, the Samaritans split from the Israelites 27 centuries ago when the Jews were driven into exile in Babylon. Samaritan ancestors stayed behind. When the Israelites returned 50 years later, the two groups remained separate.