Healing Our Wounds

Good Sam painting

When I was at an art retreat in Venice last summer (seems like years ago!), I found myself with a couple of unscheduled hours, so I made my way to a museum to do one of my favorite activities: look at art. I came across this painting of the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). After a little research, I found there are many versions of this painting, but the original was done by an Italian painter, Domenico Fetti. This is what is called a “workshop production;” a copy of the original by an up-and-coming painter. The original is in a museum in Madrid. Judging by many versions and copies of this painting, we can conclude that it is one of Fetti’s most popular creations. It was coupled with a painting of the Parable of the Weeds (Matthew 13:24-33) and each was originally meant to hang in a grotto in Mantua, Italy.

You can see the Levite and the Priest, who pass by the injured man on the side of the road, going on their way in the background to the left. We do not see the face of the Samaritan, but we catch a glimpse of the injured man looking over his shoulder as he is being lowered onto the donkey. His gaze meets ours, the viewers of this painting.

A helpful tool when reading parables is to ask yourself who you identify with in the story. Oftentimes I have been the Levite and the Priest. Rarely have I acted like the Samaritan. Sometimes I identify with the man beaten up by the side of the road. You too? These trying times can do that to us.

A book I am reading has a character named Hannah in it. Life has beat her up a bit. When referring to her “wounds,” she says this to God, “I know that if I don’t keep the wound clean by naming it to you, it will become a nesting place for bitterness and self-pity and resentment and disappointment. I don’t want my wound to become infected. Maybe there’s healing just in being honest. This is where I am, Lord. Please meet me here.”

Being Human Connection: If you identify with Hannah or the injured traveler, I pray you can be honest with God and find healing in that honesty. Tell the Lord where your heart is at and let him meet you there. He is no stranger to wounds.

Featured art: Domenico Fetti, “The Good Samaritan,” circa 1613.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” -Isaiah 53:3