My Trip to Samaria

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Biblically speaking, Samaritans are to be avoided at all costs; you circumvent their region, you don’t talk to them, associate with them, and you cross the street to keep from coming in contact with them. Group them with lepers, maybe worse.

While discussing this in Bible study (John 4/ the woman at the well) God kinda whispered to me ‘ who were the “samaritans” in your life…who do you stay away from?’
I tried to ignore these questions, but God can sneak up on you and put that thought back in your head at the weirdest times. He’ll even wake you at 3 in the morning just to have your undivided attention. OK, it worked and it’s homeless people on the streets! (I’m ok in convalescent homes and with severely disabled )There, I confess!

Well you know God timed this because just the day before I visited the San Diego Rescue Mission. I was there with a small group touring the facility when I came upon a very small hand-out for “Samaritans’ Feet”; a foot washing opportunity to the homeless. In two weeks they would have an event to wash feet of those who had come off the street for the night, pray with them, and fit them with a new pair of shoes and socks. Why had I even picked up that 4″ x 4″ piece of paper?     Yeah, we all know why.        I signed up.

That date loomed large as it came closer…kinda like waiting for a pulling of a wisdom tooth. The closer the date got the more unsettled I felt. When the time arrived, Steve and I and Mary (a dear friend) all went down to the Mission where we had some training and a lot of praying over. I think I got eager at this point. There were 12 volunteer women at washing stations and 4 men changing water and bringing shoes. ( men were to be practically invisible as we were only washing women and children, and most of the women had experienced abuse of some sort in their lives) About 80 women some with children came through.( The men were ministered to the next day.)

This is a lot of preamble to get where I can introduce you to Barbara, Julia, Hattie, Leticia and son, and Anitra and daughter. They are lovely women who didn’t plan on needing a rescue mission but through circumstances and choices were the women whose feet I bathed. Barbara was there until she could find a home for herself and her two adult children, who were both in jail for bad decisions, but would be released soon. Leticia and Alitra were trying to make it on their own and were doing their very best to provide by working several jobs and just needed time to save up.

Now Hattie was a very large, black, bald Hindu woman with a great big red dot on her forehead who challenged me. She showed me her laminated picture of her ‘guru’ and said she only did what he told her to. He ‘told’ her it was ok to have me wash her feet. I told her Jesus was my guru and I was glad to meet her. She was fighting the experience but with some joking around she relaxed and I massaged her feet and we had a good time. She didn’t want prayer but we blessed each other and she asked for a hug!

Julia confessed to me she hadn’t bathed in 69 days and was eager for new shoes. We peeled her socks off to find huge open sores and thick gnarled toenails and a lot of grime. But as ‘ick’ as that was, I felt such an affection and tenderness toward her. I gently cleaned and kneaded her feet and helped cut her nails and it was ok. She was a frail thing whose life choices kept her from doing what she knew was right. And she had lost all whom she loved in the process. But the ‘Jesus’ in me loved on her, prayed with her, hugged her, and threw away her old shoes and socks. Here toothless smile and teary eyes were my thanks. Each woman had a story and each wanted and deserved to be listened to. Who was I to judge?

That was my take-away on a very heart-tenderizing experience.

I will do this again. Who are your Samaritans?

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