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The Samaritan Who Was A Jew

A small, seasonal piece from the BBC:

When cardiologist Andrew Deaner rushed to the aid of Fabrice Muamba at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane, his actions echoed those of the Good Samaritan, writes Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden and a Spurs season ticket holder.

I’ve been going to football matches for the best part of 50 years. Spurs supporter virtually all my life. It’s not often that something takes place that stills the whole crowd and unites them in common concern. This was an evening not to be forgotten – for the wrong and then, happily, the right reasons.

All of us who’ve seen Muamba since the cardiac arrest have been impressed by his humility, his bearing, his faith – and the way in which he’s dealt with the adversity he faced. It was a moving moment when he appeared at the away game in May, to huge acclaim from fans. It was even more moving when he came back to White Hart Lane in November, came on the pitch, and stood on the spot where he’d collapsed just eight months earlier. The Spurs supporters cheered him as though he was one of ours.

And what of Dr Andrew Deaner? When he started out for the match that evening, he couldn’t have anticipated how things would turn out. Sometimes the stranger, the person you never met, ends up being the lifesaver. His story that evening is a bit like the parable of the Good Samaritan – the person who lends help to the stranger, and thus becomes a friend. But, I guess he might modestly say, just a doctor doing his job.

Dr Andrew Deaner is not a Samaritan, but a Jew:

Dr Deaner, a Mill Hill Synagogue member, said: “Something sort of told me I should go down [on to the pitch]. The adrenaline starts pumping when you see a cardiac arrest.”

I mention this, not to highlight the pretty unremarkable discovery that a doctor who is a Spurs fan is also Jewish. My point is, rather, to highlight the extent to which the events of first century Judea still form the prism through which a huge number of British and Western people understand contemporary events. The habit of Biblical parallel-seeking isn’t restricted to Bishops – it is prevalent even among those with little by way of a religious background. In fact, the less Bible you know, the less likely you are to realise that you’re doing it.