Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
We are always in search of the magic pill. The pill, the treatment, the miracle injection, the easiest way to be completely healed of whatever ails us. We certainly don't want our doctor to tell us to go on a diet, eat less sweets, stay away from salty food. And even worse is when we're told to exercise.
Stop smoking or drinking too? What?! My lifestyle isn't the problem. My sickness is the problem so give me the miracle pill and I'll be on my way.
That's what I hear when Naaman says, "I thought he would wave his hand over the spot and I would be healed." But instead he told me to grovel seven times, dipping myself in their muddy river. It's not what I wanted to hear. I wanted a magic pill.
But his servants call him on it - also a great angle for this considering this text. All of the action comes from the servants beginning with the young girl who serves Naaman's wife. The servants say to him - but he did sort of give you a magic pill. You just have to do something. It's not hard either. Dunk yourself in the water seven times. What's so hard about that? If he had asked you to do something hard would you thought it more worthy of your time and effort. They completely reframe it for him - sneaky!
Naaman wanted to do nothing for his healing. Elisha asked him to do something. His servants make it sound as if Naaman would've done great things for his healing.
Where are we in our healing? Do we want the magic pill? Do we want to do nothing for wholeness? Would we do whatever it takes? Would we dip in dirty water seven times, whatever that might mean to us in our context?
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