Cover Art — July-August, 2017

The Good Samaritan at the Door of the Inn

Artist: Artist: Daniel Bonnell
(USA, Contemporary)
Interpreter: Interpreter: Mona Bagasao-Cave
Cover photo courtesy of the artist. © 2000 Daniel Bonnell. Prints of cover art are available at www.bonnellart.com.

Daniel Bonnell’s painting, The Good Samaritan at the Door of the Inn, inspired me to consider how this familiar story might have unfolded from the innkeeper’s perspective. I imagine the scenario much like this: The Samaritan was in the shadows, but the innkeeper recognized him immediately. The Samaritan was a longtime customer. That night he carried what appeared to be a lifeless body. “He’s hurt. We must care for him,” the Samaritan might have said. Perhaps the innkeeper thought, But the injured man is a Jew. Would a Jewish man care for a wounded Samaritan? The Samaritan seemed to care deeply for the man. I can imagine the Samaritan saying to the innkeeper, “I have to go. He’s a stranger to me, but he needs help. I know you will care for him well. When I come back this way, I will pay any extra expenses his care incurs.” Then he was gone. Perhaps the innkeeper was thinking only about the money and his reputation. Maybe he wondered, What makes him think I will care for this man? But he’s trusting me. How can I let him down?

The painting makes each of us witnesses to the Samaritan’s compelling actions in an intimate and powerful way. Maybe the next time the innkeeper came across someone in need, his response to the person was different because of his experience with the Samaritan. Maybe the next time we come across someone in need, our response will be different too.