Good Samaritans of the Sea

Average reading time is about 6 minutes
AN AMAZING FACT:  Throughout history there are many examples of dolphins helping humans in distress. The earliest record of dolphins saving people dates back over 2,000 years in ancient Greece. The musician Arion was returning home by boat after winning a handsome reward for singing. Some sailors threatened to kill him and steal his treasure. According to legend, Arion persuaded them to let him sing one last song, and as he sang, dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. Arion jumped into the water and was carried to shore by a dolphin.

There are also many modern-day stories about people being saved by dolphins from shark attacks and other desperate situations at sea. In May 1978, a boatload of people was lost in thick fog off the coast of South
America. Four dolphins nudged the boat through dangerous water and saved many lives. Another story marked by the miraculous occurred in November of 1999, when 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez survived a storm at sea that capsized their boat and drowned his mother. The young boy floated in an inner tube toward shore for two days and nights. When he was exhausted and began to slip, he claimed dolphins surrounded him like a contingent of angels and pushed him upward, protecting him in the shark-infested waters until he was rescued by fisherman.

Another dramatic account was reported in 2001, by a group of fishermen from South Carolina. Their boat sank 35 miles away from shore, and they found themselves surrounded by sharks. A pod of dolphins arrived and proceeded to drive the sharks away. They remained with the fishermen all night and the following day, driving off any sharks that came near. Similarly, a group of four New Zealand lifeguards were protected from a white shark by a group of dolphins who swam in tight circles around them, thus preventing the shark from attacking.

We’re not exactly sure why dolphins rescue people. Amazingly, these good Samaritan dolphins have no apparent benefit to themselves. We do know it is part of their nature to help other dolphins in trouble; therefore it is possible that this instinct to help each other is simply extended to humans in danger. Or could it be that dolphins are consciously responding in a selfless way to save other intelligent creatures? Perhaps, like the good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable, they have compassion.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, Luke 10:33


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