Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
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2 Kings 5 narrates the events of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman was a great commander, the right-hand man to the king. However, Naaman is struck with leprosy, and the king sent a letter and gifts to Elisha. Elisha, the prophet was renowned as a miracle worker. Naaman was a man of wealth, he was short of nothing – except faith. Elisha, he had a double anointing from YHWH, and walked in obedience and faith.
Aram was a neighbour to Israel, and the Arameans had raided Israel. When the king of Israel received this letter, he thought that is may be an ambush. He considered the consequences if Naaman was not healed, and if that would lead to more raids. Naaman wanted to be healed, and realised that this disease would be the end of the king’s favour as and his ex-communication from society. He had everything to lose, he was so desperate that he listened to a servant girl. How amazing is our King? He places people in our lives to show us the way! Naaman sets off, with high expectations of meeting this man of God.
Naaman was a man accustomed to fanfare and respect. However, the leprosy is an outer illness, and there is an inner healing needed deep within Naaman. Elisha does not come to meet Naaman, instead, he sends a messenger to meet him. The message is simple, “Go and wash yourself in the Jordan River, and wash seven times.” Naaman was full of pride, very aware of his position and standing, his wealth – in short full of self-importance. This is evident in his reaction to the message.
We are left questioning how much Naaman needs healing, how deeply does he want to be well again? He fussed and became offended by the fact that Elisha did not even appear before him – he was Naaman, the kings right-hand man. He had expected that this man of God would approach him, and wave his hand over Naaman. But instead a message is sent that he is to wash in a murky river? You want me to do what???? It would appear that his pride was greater than his desire to be healed. YHWH is able to heal us with a wave of a hand, but there has to be some effort from your side. Think of the healings that Yeshua preformed, in all of them there was faith needed by the sick person – washing eyes in the pool, picking up a mat, coming out of the tomb. These all required effort and faith. Naaman already believed that God worked through Elisha, and that He could heal. His faith was there, it was just that he didn’t expect that he would have to do something ‘beneath’ his standing to receive the healing.
You see, what Naaman had to do to receive his healing was to get out of his clothes, he had to remove his rank and wealth. Naaman had to expose his leprosy to those around him, he would be making himself vulnerable. Naaman had to lay who he was in the Aramean kingdom on the muddy banks of the Jordan, he had to immerse himself in the water, not just stand on the side and splash. This meant he had to deal with his pride issue, he had to humble himself before YHWH, he had to take up his cross and sacrifice his position and standing before the King of Kings. He had to tear his heart.
There is a truth here about revealing who we really are. Sometimes we hide behind our Sunday best, and masquerades dictated by the world. We often become unwillingly distracted by our ‘dressings’, position and importance. Before you know it we have grown an attitude of pride – if this has offended you, then take a closer look at your heart. I am not pointing fingers, I have to daily strip off pride!
Naaman was not impressed with ‘lowering’ himself, physically and spiritually, into the river. He considered the Jordan River not good enough for him, as there were better rivers at home – he still did not get it. Sorry for the pun, but Naaman’s healing skin-deep. The true healing was in the secret place, his heart. His pride was blocking his physical healing, until he was willing to lay his pride aside he would not receive the healing, and he stood to loose everything if he didn’t humble himself. Naaman had a choice to make, he could strip off or get back on his mule and go back home.
Enter the voice of reason, a brave officer from the ranks. Another person positioned for a time such as this by YHWH, to reason with this stubborn and proud commander. How often do we ignore the voice of reason? Often pride dictates that we have to be able to point out that we are who we because we used our own strength/brainpower/expertise or wisdom. Perhaps washing in a muddy river was too simple for Naaman? The officer’s reasoning made Naaman realise his desire to be healed was greater than getting into the water. He had travelled so far. He must have been so itchy and sore, the dust and travelling would not have made this journey easy for him. To make that journey back home without dipping into the water seemed ridiculous. In verse 14 we read, “So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times as the man of God had instructed. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child’s, and he was healed.” There is a double healing here!!! His flesh is healed and his inner is healed. AMEN. Naaman submitted, he obeyed YHWH, and he was made whole. He was healed not because of his authority, strength or standing – Naaman was healed by the power of an Awesome God. He realised this and committed to serving God above all.
Naaman was buzzing and so excited that he wanted to pay Elisha. He put a price on his healing of 340 kg of pure silver, 68 kg of pure gold and 10 sets of clothes. Naaman is so grateful, but he needs to learn another lesson from Elisha. Elisha refuses the gifts, he redirects the glory and esteem to YHWH. Elisha shows humility and acknowledges the strength of God, he does not claim any esteem or glory for himself. In the end Naaman returns to Aram with a sod of soil to remind him of the miracle in his life, and of his commitment to YHWH.
I have a personal testimony of healing similar to that of Naaman. I feel though that I must say upfront that as individuals we experience traumatic events in our lives differently. I have prayed for family members who have not received healing, I have had close Christian friends pass away. So the views expressed are personal, they are my journey, and my beliefs may differ from yours regarding healing.
In 2011 I was diagnosed with Grade 4, invasive cancer of the bladder and statistically given five year if the bladder was not removed. The urologist wanted to remove my bladder and create a pseudo bladder using part of my colon. This would mean that I did not have an outer bag, but an inner one that still needed to be emptied with a catheter. After prayer I received a promise that no part of my body would be removed, but that I was going to have to walk through the valley of treatment. However, I was promised that this would be a time of blessing, and the journey would take me into a deeper place with Him. My husband and I met with the urologist and told him that we would not be opting for bladder removal. He strongly advised me to reconsider, but as a step of faith, I held fast to the promise and opted for treatment, chemo and radiation. I maintain that I had spiritual cancer, and that the physical cancer was a stop sign for me to stop and take a good look at my heart. I had become so wrapped up in me and my own world. I was in a middle management position at a prestigious Christian school, was completing a Master of Education, and doing well. I was running and fit, spending hours training my body. I had all the trappings of Sunday best, smiles and bling. Yet, this list did not include spiritual wellbeing, where was God in my life? I needed to be woken up. I needed to go to the river, strip myself of myself, and dip myself in humility and obedience. I needed to tear my heart and not my clothes. I will be forever grateful that YHWH put that stop sign in my life, so glad He took me on a journey through a valley with Him. Many people have asked me a question. “If you say that you are healed, how come you are faced with treatment?” The answer is never simple, but my personal experience is that, like Naaman, sometimes we have to heal the inner to heal the outer. I love the Healer of my soul, all the glory and honour to Him. May you come before the Stream of Living Water and immerse yourself, stripping off all, and humbly and eagerly dip into the everlasting waters. Amen