The Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 25-37

 

Apollo BaySeveral months ago, I was walking along a beach near Apollo Bay in Victoria, Australia. It was early morning and the sun was getting warm. Lots of people were walking or jogging along the beach. I had my Bible with me. I was praying. This was my quiet time. I had a feeling that this was a day when God was going to show me something. Something important.

I was quite a distance from the town when I noticed a man walking dog several hundred yards in front of me. He stopped and stared out to sea. He was watching something splashing around in the surf. He stood there for a few moments before passing on by on the other side of the beach.

Bird in SurfWhen I got to where the man had been standing, I noticed that a young sea bird, obviously injured, fighting a losing battle with the tide, and with life. I have no idea how it came to be there. Maybe it was injured in a fight with another seabird. Maybe it was injured by a seal. Maybe it was injured by a dog. Maybe it had simply had some kind of seagull accident.It wasn’t a huge bird, and each wave moved it a little closer to the sand. Probably, I could have helped. But like the man before me, I walked past.

About half an hour later, I was walking back along the same bit of beach, heading towards the apartment where I was staying. The bird was still there, flapping about in the shallows, fighting for its life. Then something extraordinary happened.

There was a young woman jogging towards me along the beach. Like me, she noticed a sea bird, obviously injured, fighting a losing battle with the tide, and with life. She had no idea how it came to be in the situation. Maybe it was injured in a fight with another seabird, a seal, a dog or whether it was the victim of some kind of seagull accident. She noticed it. She didn’t walk past.

She stepped out into the shallow surf, reached down, picked up the bird and cradled it in her arms. She walked up the beach, and carefully placed the bird in the shade of a rock, on dry land on the edge of the sand dunes. As she stepped back, the bird shook itself, then settled in the shade, and became calm.

The young woman walked off along the beach.

Cross on BeachI never saw the young woman or the seabird again. I have absolutely no idea how the story ends. I have no idea whether the woman returned to check on the bird, or whether it simply had a rest, recovered its strength and flew away. There are one or two other outcomes which would be less satisfactory for the bird. However it ended, I felt that I had witnessed something special. Something extraordinary.

I walked on. After all, I had my Bible with me. I was praying. This was my quiet time. I had a feeling that this was a day when God was going to show me something. Something important. Now, several months later, I look back at that moment and wonder what it was?

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