To lay a trap
is not unique to human beings,
but we’re certainly the most vicious.
From the tree branch drug across the road
luring out naive motorist
to phone call scams that snare the unfamiliar,
men in vans with candy
to Bundy’s bad arm,
there seems to be no end to our ingenuity
when it comes to taking advantage of
and hurting others. 
After all, we’ve had centuries to practice
at perfect evil,
even going back to Biblical times.

At seventeen miles long,
the Wadi Qelt Road
is the shortest connection between Jericho
and Jerusalem,
but it is also considered to be
one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
There’s a reason scholars believe it to be
David’s famous valley of the shadow of death.

Eons of rainfall floodwaters
have dotted the area with caves
and serpentine bends
offering plenty of hiding places
for thieves
and others who look to do harm
to those who needed to travel
this most important road.

Anyone in Biblical times would have known it. 
Few (besides the wicked ones)
would have felt comfortable there, peace
being something rarely found.
Nobody wanted to use it but many had to
and many lost lives and livelihoods there.
All of this made it
the perfect setting
for one of Jesus’ most famous parables.

To me,
it one night struck me funny
while mourning the loss
of a community to support me
in all my mounting troubles,
leaving me
feeling like that beaten traveller,
that the place where Jesus taught,
broke bread, and was crucified
was connected to a city,
best known for walls tumbling down,
by a road that was essentially
evil incarnate.
Just a coincidence?
Divine logic?
It got my head spinning.

I no longer think of the Good Samaritan Parable
as featuring a Priest and a Levite
walking by with averted eyes.
That’s what the people back then would understand.

If told today, those characters
could easily be replaced
by Thoughts and Prayers.

But we know what the Samaritan did.
He saw a human being in need,
beaten, left to die
from injury and exposure
and his heart broke.
There was no continuing on with his journey yet,
no danger to be feared,
just a life to be saved,
potential trap to be braved

Because I imagine if you’re trying to load
a three-quarters dead man onto your donkey,
you’re not too focused on who might be sneaking up behind.
Your guard, your walls,
are completely dropped.

So what are you willing to do
with the world in such need?
People are dying every day,
how might you be able
to slow that down?
Not just physical death
but people losing themselves,
can you be their tether?
After all, we are all called
to bear each other’s crosses,
(even if you don’t believe the concept
in quite those same terms)
think of a time where maybe you just needed one person.
Maybe you could be that one now.
Maybe you haven’t quite found your one,
so but all means,
let’s start figuring it out.

What sacrifice are you willing to make
when our children are dying?
Are you willing to call out a friend or a loved one
if evil pours out from tongue or deed?
Can you brave another’s demons
knowing they will come after you as an enemy
while you’re own demons are still prowl?
Maybe even,
our personal demons are really someone else’s to beat.

It’s a hard life, unpleasant.
You will get hurt, you will be the beaten traveller.
You will also pass the beaten traveller
and you will do both at the same time.
True character will shine in those moments.
What change do you want to see in the world?
Are you prepared to drop your every guard
if that’s what it takes in a moment
to save a life in some capacity?
Nobody said it was an easy balance to strike,
but look at the way things are going–
we are listing toward hell,
in need of brave souls to fight the tide of evil.
Are you able to commit yourself
to the fight?