Friday, April 20, 2018

The Samaritan’s First Aid

In the parable of the good Samaritan, I wondered about some of the things the Samaritan did for the wounded man.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:33-34)

Why put oil and wine in the wounds? Wine would have some alcohol in it, and so would be an antiseptic and disinfect it. The oil would keep the skin soft and prevent any forming scabs from cracking prematurely and reopening the wound. Antibiotic ointment today is made up of a petroleum jelly with antibiotics in it, and the jelly does about the same thing as the oil.

So, it seems the parable had some solid practices of wound treatment in it, and this makes me wonder if this represented the first aid knowledge of that time or if this shows Jesus knew something about wound care that others didn’t and put that in the parable too.

Others have observed how the parable could be read as an analogy for the way Christ saves us, so this makes me think about what spiritual care might be analogous to pouring oil and wine into wounds. Perhaps they correspond with the way Christ purifies us from our sins and begins the process of healing with the Spirit, helping us to keep a soft heart.