The Good Samaritan

Study for the Good Samaritan with the wounded man
Pen and brush drawing; 12.8 x 12.3 cm; c. 1648-50
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen

A certain lawyer stood up and attempted to test Jesus with this question: "Teacher, what shall I do to merit eternal life?"

To this question, Jesus replied, "What is written in your religious laws? How do you read it?"

The lawyer responded, "You shall love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as you love yourself."

Jesus said, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will find what you are looking for."

Unsatisfied, the lawyer continued, "And who, exactly, is my neighbor?"

Jesus answered him by recounting this allegorical story.

"A certain man traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho. In a lonely place outside the city, he was attacked by a band of thieves. They stripped him of his clothing, beat him, stole all of his possessions, and left him by the side of the road half dead. Not long after this had happened, a priest arrived on the scene. But when he saw the poor man, naked and covered with wounds, he hurried past on the far side of the road. Likewise, another religious ruler came by on the same route. He barely glanced at the poor man, however. And he too, hastened on, not wanting to get involved with the victim or his plight.

Finally, a Samaritan passed by, a man despised by others because of his race, and dark complexion. And when he saw the poor man lying there, he stopped, and with compassion, attempted to bandage his wounds, cleaning them with oil and with wine.

"He then lifted the man onto his donkey, and brought him to the nearest inn. The next day, when he departed, he gave a sum of money to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend, I will repay you upon my return.'"

The Good Samaritan looks after the wounded man
Pen and brush drawing; 15.8 x 22.1 cm; c. 1644
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen

The Good Samaritan at the inn
Pen and brush drawing; 18.4 x 28.7 cm; 1641-43
London, British Museum

Having told this story, Jesus then asked, "Which of these three men do you think was a neighbor to the one who fell among thieves?"

To this, the lawyer replied, "The Samaritan I suppose; the one who showed mercy."

Then Jesus said to him, "Go, and live your life in the same manner."

To be continued...