Jesus chose as the setting for His parable of the Good Samaritan a road notorious for robbers. Turns out, that road still has thieves. Ask me how I know.
After a tour in Israel, we stayed a few days longer in order to do some filming with my lifelong friend, Scott Wilson. One of the scenes we filmed took place on the Ascent of Adummim—the Good Samaritan Road.
While there, a group of thieves stole from me. But unlike the victim in Jesus’ parable, I wasn’t beaten and left half-dead.
But I did gain a valuable lesson that cost me hundreds of dollars.
As you read this post, you get the lesson for free.
The Good Samaritan Road — The Ascent of Adummim
Jesus began His parable this way: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers” (Luke 10:30). Jesus’ listeners all understood what road He referred to.
The ascent of Adummim, which is on the south of the valley. — Joshua 15:7
- This road up to Jerusalem from Jericho began in “the valley,” or the Wadi Qelt. The road left the valley as its walls steepened and hugged its southern cliff. The road was known as the “Ascent of Adummim,” meaning “ascent of the red places,” probably because of the red rocks there.
- In the third century, Eusebius identified the road with the village called Maledonmnei. The Latin name for the city refers to it as the “ascent of bloodstains,” perhaps because of the blood spilled there by thieves.
The man in Jesus’ parable fell among robbers—those who took from him forcefully. I only suffered from thieves—those who took from me by stealth.
How I Got Robbed on the Good Samaritan Road
We went to the Ascent of Adummim to film—with the Wadi Qilt and Jericho in the background. As we stood on the ancient road, I was surprised at the number of Bedouins that passed us.
- A couple of them rode past on donkeys.
- A shepherd passed by with his flock of goats.
No problem. But when we stopped at the St. George Monastery on our way to film atop Cypros, the Bedouin peddlers surrounded our car as if we had disturbed an ant bed. We assumed they only meant to hawk their wares. They shoved their fabrics in our faces through our open car windows, and we politely said no—and drove off.
About an hour later, I realized my iPad was gone.
Putting two and two together, I realized when the peddler shoved his fabric in my face—he only meant to distract me while he slipped his hand inside my car door to relieve me of my iPad.
Simple Lesson from a Life Where Thieves Break in and Steal
Of course, we learned the hard way that many pickpockets veil their intentions behind a peddler’s mask. The experience peeled another layer of naiveté from our minds.
But aside from the practical traveling tip, my spiritual life also got a nudge. As I lay in bed the following morning, stewing in my righteous anger, the words of Jesus kept coming to mind:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. —Matthew 6:19–20
Jesus has nothing against the discipline of saving, per se. In fact, Scripture affirms the wisdom of doing so (Gen. 41:47-48; Exod. 16:4-5; Prov. 6:6-8; 1 Cor. 16:2). Trusting God and saving goods or funds are not mutually exclusive. The issue lies with our motives for saving (i.e. “for yourselves”).
One way we learn not to focus too much on the things of earth is to have them taken from us.
- Sometimes it’s an iPad.
- Other times it’s a job we love.
- Or a person we love.
I’ve had all of these happen to me.
As violated as we feel when a thief takes from us what we worked hard to earn, the painful loss also serves to remind us where our hearts must stay focused—and it reveals where our devotion lies. This life—including all of the stewardships God gives us (even iPads)—are temporary at best.
But even in this transitory season, we have the opportunity to invest in the everlasting.
(By the way, the incident wasn’t all bad. Both my iPad and my heart were due for an upgrade.)
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