“Elisha sent a messenger to say to him. ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.'” — 2 Kings 5:10
When I read this passage, two things stand out and cause me pause. First, why is an entire chapter in the Old Testament given over to this one character and his leprosy? And two, why am I so familiar with just how Naaman must have felt when he was told to wash in the Jordan River?
As for the first question . . . I haven’t got a clue. Maybe God just thought it was important. If you know, send me an e-mail.
But what really bothers me is Naaman’s response to Elisha’s directives to go wash in the Jordan. Here is a highly regarded warrior whom the king of Aram knew to be a great man, “because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram” (vs. 1). Aram, by the way, is also known as Syria, whose capital is Damascus. But I digress.
Here’s the picture: Naaman is a great warrior, esteemed by all, adored by the masses and rich enough to own a slave girl imported from Israel. His only problem seemed to be a small case of leprosy, which is a bit more distressing than acute acne but not as bad terminal cancer.
Naaman, like most of us, first faces a crisis (leprosy, or cancer or something tragic in my life like another rejection letter from an editor) and the solution (go bathe in a muddy stream, or bow to God or apologize to your family for being selfish or something equally mundane). “Wait!” I want to shout, “I’m a SOMEBODY. Elisha, you can’t be serious. Don’t just send out your maid and tell me to do something mundane. I’m special and I want special treatment!”
That’s it, right? I know I’m somebody special and I want the world to acknowledge it. Continue Reading