Jonah and the Whale (Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches)
The story of Jonah and the Whale is emblematic of how we often relate our plans for life with what Life has instead planned for us. In the Old Testament, Jonah is sent by God to Nineveh to warn the city’s inhabitants to become better people. But he wants to hide from God and sails instead to Jaffa. A storm sets out and Jonah is eaten by a whale. He spends three days in the belly of the whale, where he again prays to God. Upon his release, he goes to Nineveh and warns the people that they should repent for their sins. Since they listen, God spares the city, but Jonah is regretful. He sets out to live in the outskirts, looking forward to Nineveh’s destruction, but becomes sad and disheartened when a tree that was keeping him in the shade withers. God then points out to Jonah that just as he felt sorry for a withering tree, God will have mercy for an entire city and its people. Jonah’s myth is thus about learning to accept and forgive.