’Wash, and be clean‘

March 8, 2021

2 Kings 5:1–15b | Luke 4:23–30 | Psalm 42:1–7

It’s the imagery of water that catches my attention; how tempting is that thought? That we can dive under, feel the cool energy, and emerge into the sunlight, pure as a child? 

In the story of Naaman, we see a successful man who is dealing with a devastating disease. He did all the right things, and his life inexplicably changed, due to an event beyond his control. Although my life is nothing like Naaman’s, I certainly understand the feeling when the path of life veers suddenly off course. I think it’s something many people can relate to, whether the cause is medical diagnosis, economic hardship or some other situation.

Naaman sought help for his problem; he had support, he brought wealth, he went to a powerful man. In the end, none of that mattered. As I read the story, it seems the most humble people have the greatest impact. A servant girl suggests where to find a cure, details of the cure come through a messenger, and servants talk Naaman into trying it. Ultimately, this man lets go of pride and anger, follows the prophet’s simple instructions, and surrenders himself seven times to the Jordan River. When Naaman meets Elisha afterward, he is not only cured, he has opened his eyes to God.

What can I learn from this story? I don’t expect miracles in my life, and it’s much too cold to go bathing in rivers around here! During this time of Lent, can I close my eyes and imagine the water? Can I embrace the humble, and leave pride and anger behind? can I emerge from those imaginary waters, if not young in flesh, at least refreshed in spirit, eyes open with new sight?

I will try.

Deb Britt