In every generation there is a remnant that runs after Jesus with passion and thanksgiving. I believe the Samaritan leper ran back to Jesus because he was not bound by forms and rituals (see Luke 17:11-19). He did not have to "unlearn" it all. You see, the other nine had been raised orthodox, their minds trained from childhood in ritual and ceremony, and they were still bound by their tradition. But once the Samaritan saw the whole religious system, he cried, "No way!"
He witnessed the phoniness of the religious leaders and churchgoers. He saw Pharisees robbing widows and taking away their homes. He saw priests bribing and being bribed. He saw the temples filled with money changers, turning God's house into a den of thieves. He saw scribes making rules for others that they never lifted a finger to observe themselves.
He saw all the whitewashed fronts, the false faces and double standards, and said to himself, "This is the blind leading the blind and it's not for me. I want the real thing."
As he headed toward the village with the other nine—back to the priest, to church, society, and the good life—he stopped and thought: "Wait a minute! I remember what it was like when I had it all—money, prestige, security. I was miserable! My so-called friends all rejected me at the first sign that I might have leprosy. I was empty—bound by sinful habits, full of hate and bitterness. It was a living hell. Why should I go back to that?"
Then something in his heart began to burn: "Look at me. I'm clean. Jesus healed me. The church can wait; my family and career can wait. I'm going to Jesus! I want to get to know the One who healed me!" He came to the same conclusion all remnant people come to: "There is nothing out there that I want. It's all vanity! I'm going to Jesus and He will be my reality!"