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Skinny-dipping in the Jordan

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Today’s scripture: 2 Kings 5:1-5; 9-14 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Deb Doty):

Know how to make a VIP angry? Treat him like he’s not a VIP — don’t bow to his perceived power. Tell her to do something beneath her status — something embarrassing — something that doesn’t make sense.

That’s what happened to Naaman, the mighty commander of the army of the king of Aram. He showed up at the prophet Elisha’s door with a letter from his king and mind-boggling riches. He was there to be healed. And he expected to be healed like a powerful, rich man should be healed — immediately, personally, and with dignity. And if there was a nice ritual, so much the better. But he got none of that.

Elisha didn’t even come out to see him — and he didn’t let him inside his house. Instead, he sent a messenger out to tell Naaman to go wash himself in the Jordan River seven times in order to be healed. No wonder Naaman left in a snit.

“Doesn’t he realize who I am? He didn’t even come out to acknowledge my presence! For as much as I’m willing to pay him, you’d think he’d at least come out to pray over me! But no! He sends a servant to tell me to go bathe in his pathetic river! I could’ve stayed home and bathed in a better river if I thought it’d help! Does he think I’m stupid? The nerve of that guy! I’m heading home, but I’ll be back — with Aram’s mighty army! And then we’ll see who ends up in the Jordan — as fish food!”

In the midst of his angry sputtering, a couple of very brave servants bowed low and said, “Oh, dear, wonderful person that you are! What would it hurt to just try what the man said? It’s on our way, so why not? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

And so Naaman ended up washing himself in the Jordan River seven times. And he was healed of his leprosy.

What’s your “leprosy?” Has a “prophet” given you a solution, but it just seemed too stupid for words? Does the path to your healing involve swallowing your pride and taking a step of faith? Sometimes it’s in the unexpected — and maybe even the unorthodox — that we discover our breakthrough. But we have to be willing to put aside our prestige and plunge into the Jordan — sometimes more than once. What are you willing to give for your healing? Are you willing to go skinny-dipping in the Jordan?

Thought for the day: God, help me be willing to take the plunge of faith — even if I think I’ll look silly.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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