In the time of Jesus the Jews and the Samaritans did not tend to get along, in fact they regarded each other as enemies. Jesus and his disciples were Jews.
One day a teacher of the law came to Jesus and asked him, “What should I do to go to heaven?” Jesus replied with a question, “What does the law say?” The teacher answered, “Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And love your neighbour as yourself.” “You are right,” Jesus said, “do this and you will indeed enter heaven.” The teacher then asked, “But who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied by telling him this story:
A Jewish man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho when suddenly he was attacked by robbers.
They stripped off his clothes, beat him up and left him for dead beside the road.
By chance a priest came walking down the road. When he saw the man lying there, he crossed over to the other side and passed by without stopping.
Next a temple assistant walked down the road and saw the man lying there injured. But he also crossed over to the other side and went on by without stopping.
Then, along came a Samaritan and he also saw the man lying there. He felt compassion for the man and cleaned up his wounds and bandaged them.
He then placed the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he looked after him. The next day the Samaritan paid the innkeeper enough money to look after the man until he was better. Then he said to the innkeeper, “If the bill is higher, I’ll pay you more money next time I am here.”
Jesus then asked the teacher, “Which of these three would you say was a neighbour to the man who was robbed?
The teacher replied, “The one who showed compassion.” Then Jesus said, “You are right, now go and do likewise.”