The man has been in and out of consciousness for nearly two days.
He is astounded as he begins to piece together the story of how a bunch of strangers have looked after him so well, as if he were a family member. And the cost! Food, clothing, a room for as long as he needs it. He has no money, because the thieves took everything. When he thinks of them, the images and sounds of the robbery come back to him and he winces.
He manages these words to the innkeeper, “I am so sorry for all your time and expense. When I am well I will see that both you and the one who brought me here are repaid for your trouble. I was robbed of all my money and have nothing to give you now, but I will see that you are repaid.” Though he was not well off, he would find a way to get the money.
“We will not hear of it,” says the innkeeper. “It is payment enough to see you moving about and to get you on your feet again. You will stay here until you are well. My wife insists upon it.” His wife, busy with household tasks, smiles and nods in agreement.
“I wish I could get my hands on those men who beat you!” says the innkeeper. “Who do they think they are, taking people’s money and sometimes their lives?” This is confirmation to the man that he had been left for dead. “You are very lucky my good Samaritan friend came along!”
“A Samaritan!” says the man. “But you are Jews, are you not?”
“Of course we are Jews.” says the innkeeper. “But I have to make a living of this place for my family. I can’t afford to turn anyone away, even though that doesn’t make the rabbi happy.”
The man thinks about the Samaritan who rescued him from certain death by the side of the road. Why? Perhaps the Samaritan didn’t know the man was a Jew. His clothing had been stripped so that wasn’t an identifier. The man is proud to be God’s person, and has therefore never had anything to do with Samaritans, but now he finds himself not caring a bit about differences between Samaritans and Jews. A Samaritan had saved his life, for God’s sake. In a few days, the man’s whole attitude about “them” has changed.
What would the man’s wife say when he told her? He knew what she would say—thank God for Samaritans!
Soon he feels like continuing on his journey, though he has no plans at all to travel that dangerous stretch of road again, at least not alone. But a group of travelers comes to the inn that night, and they are headed to Jerusalem. He asks if he can accompany them, which surprises them, because they are Samaritans. But they say yes.
And then the man sits and eats supper with the Samaritan travelers. The first few minutes are awkward, because Jews and Samaritans are always served from separate platters and they sit in different parts of the room. But in a few minutes they are all laughing and telling stories and he realizes how they are no different from him, really. After a couple of glasses of wine, he tells them about the stranger who saved his life, and who was one of them. And all sit quietly for a few moments.
The next morning, in one last gesture of hospitality, the innkeeper gives him enough money to make it home, and the woman hands him some parcels of food for his travels. The man looks down at the food and the new clothing he is wearing. He sees still tender knots and bruises on his arms and legs. The children practically knock him down as they crowd around the departing guest and beg him not to go. The innkeeper gives him a bear hug and wishes him Godspeed. “How can I ever repay you?” the man asks.
“By keeping an eye out for the hurting by the side of the road and caring for them,” says the innkeeper.
The man nods, and turns his face toward home.