One day, when you got on a bus to go home, you found that you had lost your wallet. You were so helpless that your eyes filled with tears. A lady gave you some coins to pay the bus fare. You were so grateful to her for her help. At times we come across some kind-hearted people who help us when we are in difficulty. Can you think of an English idiom to describe these compassionate people? 

A person who offers help to others who are in distress can be called “a good Samaritan”(行善的人;樂於助人的人). For example, 

Tom is such a good Samaritan. He always donates food and clothes to the street sleepers. 

The expression comes from a story told by Jesus. According to the Gospel of Luke(《路加福音》)in the Bible, a Jew(猶太人)was robbed, beaten and left half-dead on the side of the road. A priest and then a Levite(肋未人)passed by. However, they both avoided the badly injured Jew. Finally, a Samaritan(撒瑪黎雅人)came upon him. Although Samaritans and Jews generally hated each other, the Samaritan rescued him and treated with mercy

Jesus told this story to show us that the Samaritan was the true neighbour of the Jew without thinking of any reward. Jesus also wanted to tell us that we should help each other with compassion even though we are different in races, religions or cultures. Nowadays, the expression “a good Samaritan” simply means someone who is willing to help someone who is in distress

Since the parable is very famous, the name “Samaritan” has been used for many charities. In Hong Kong, “The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong”(香港撒瑪利亞防止自殺會)is a non-profit organisation aiming to help people who are suicidal or who need emotional support

During this season of Lent(四旬期), which is about six weeks before Easter Sunday (復活主日), Jesus encouraged us to love our neighbours and God by giving up something or acting as good Samaritans. For example, we can give up some snacks and donate the pocket money to the poor.