Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy
'So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ But 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! Are 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. But 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”?’ So 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.
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.’'(2 Kings 5:1; 9-15)
Today’s Scripture comes from the Old Testament. A mighty general is brought to humility by the prophet Elisha. Look at Naaman’s attitude: Does it not remind you of so many people today? He had expected the man of God to be impressed by him, coming as he does with a great retinue and many expensive gifts. That he would get special treatment, be ‘treated like royalty’. Not so. Elisha’s help is impartial, even remote, and the remedy so simple, Naaman cannot believe he has come all the way for this! A dip in the river is something he could have done at home.
As always in a good tale, it is the little, nameless people who save the day. The servants dare to point out that there is no harm in trying it out; after all, if Elisha had asked him to do some great feat to be healed, he would have willingly gone ahead.
What God wants from us is so simple, we can hardly take it in. Just to say ‘Yes’ to all the healing love that he has to offer us, by believing in his Son. That ‘Yes’ opens for us a lifetime of blessing, just as Naaman’s river swim was the start of a new life for him.