Naaman, a commander in the army of the king of Aram, is admired. He is a man of valor, but he is also leprous. A captive girl of Israel — serving Naaman’s wife — is bold enough to say to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3, NIV) Obviously Naaman’s wife tells her husband of the girl’s suggestion for Naaman asks the king of Aram if he may go to the king of Israel regarding this cure. The king says, “By all means, go.” (2 Kings 5:5) He even writes a letter of introduction to the king of Israel for his servant, Naaman. And, Naaman does not arrive in Israel empty-handed. He comes with silver, gold, and “ten sets of clothing.” (2 Kings 5:5)
But, the king of Israel is distressed by the request for a cure. He tears his clothes, and says: “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” (2 Kings 5:7) (Talk about misunderstanding an email!)
Elisha, the prophet, sends a message to the king. He asks, “Why have you torn your robes?” (2 Kings 5:8) Then, he suggests the king send Naaman to him for the cure he seeks so that “he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” (2 Kings 5:8)
Naaman comes to Elisha’s front door, but a messenger greets him rather than the prophet. The messenger says, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” (2 Kings 5:10) Naaman is enraged. He’s angry that a representative of the prophet Elisha gives him only a message, not the cure itself. He reasons the rivers of Damascus are better than the river Jordan in Israel. “Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” (2 Kings 5:12)
Naaman’s servants calm him. They so wisely say, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” (2 Kings 5:13) Naaman goes to the Jordan and dips himself in the waters seven times, as commanded by Elisha. His flesh is restored and he becomes clean “like that of a young boy.” (2 Kings 5:14)
Thank You Father God for Your awesome cure for sin and death. May we respond to Your call to healing, and dip ourselves in the waters of your sacrificial love. May we remember that Elisha did not command Naaman to do some great thing; rather he told him to wash and be cleansed in the Jordan. In Jesus’ Name, amen.