June 19, 2013

A Wet Syrian

2 Kings 5:1-19

“Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
—2 Kings 5:10


Naaman was an important man, favored by the king, a decorated, successful army commander. But this high and mighty man had a terrible problem—leprosy. Then Naaman heard there was someone who could help, so he desperately sought out this “prophet … in Samaria.”

Imagine the great general’s disappointment as he was greeted by a servant with a message to go wash in the muddy Jordan River. Was this a joke?

Not a joke, but a test. Was Naaman willing to humble himself in order to be cured?

With the help of his wise servants, Naaman submitted to the instructions he had received. He went down to the river, got into the water, and got down on his knees before the God of Israel. The wet Syrian came out praising the Lord God Almighty, saying, “Now I know there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

The good news of this story is not just that Naaman is healed but that a Gentile (non-Israelite) is converted to faith in the true God through a sort of baptism in the Jordan River. Naaman returns home a changed and healed man—healed not only of a disease of the skin but also of the disease of sin in his heart and soul.

Jesus wants to heal us of all that is ill in our hearts and souls. Are we willing to kneel in humility before him and ask?

Lord God, may all that is ill in my heart and soul be healed by your touch. Wash me in the waters of your grace. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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