Children of the Bible, Part 5 by Allan McGuirl
The child we are talking about today spoke only one short utterance, but it was a statement of faith, truth, and love. It resulted in a spectacular miracle. This story has sometimes been titled, “Seven Ducks in a Muddy Pond.” Perhaps you have already guessed that this child’s place in the Bible is in II Kings chapter 5. Her one statement was, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” This maidservant of Naaman’s wife had been taken captive during one of Naaman’s raids on Israel. She had been forcefully removed from her home, her family, her culture, and her place of worship, but all of this could not remove her faith in the one true God from her heart. Her words to her mistress showed no bitterness for her lot in life, but rather a genuine compassion for her master, a deep faith in her God, and knowledge of the truth.
You see, Naaman was the well-respected captain to the king of Aram and had courageously fought many battles for his country, including several against Israel. In spite of his strength and his fame, he had one major challenge: he had contracted the disease of leprosy. In Old Testament times, there was no cure for the disease, and sufferers were routinely quarantined from the general population. Despite his position, he would have become an outcast.
When his mistress’s maidservant learned of his condition, she made the statement that I read earlier, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.” I suspect Naaman’s wife was filled with concern and maybe even panic, and she realized the predicament her husband was in. This was the first glimmer of hope that there just might be an answer to their dilemma. We need to ask ourselves why Naaman’s wife took the young girl seriously. If she had been a lazy, sulky, or incompetent servant, her statement most certainly would not have been given any thought. The fact that her mistress listened and reported her words to her husband spoke well of this nameless little Jewish girl. Her faith in God and its resultant effect on her life must have been evident.
Now you probably know the rest of the story. Naaman received permission and letters of recommendation from his king to go to the king of Israel. What was he thinking as he travelled from Damascus to Samaria? He had taken gifts with him as a reward for his anticipated healing. Was he wondering if this news was too good to be true? Had the Aramians heard of the God of Israel and the many miracles He had performed for his people? Was he wondering if the king of Israel would even take time to see him? In any event, when he reached Samaria, the king of Israel was troubled and angry about Naaman’s request. He knew he could not heal him. He could only surmise that the king of Aram is attempting to lure him into war. When Elisha learned of the king’s situation, he told the king to send Naaman to see him. Naaman arrived at the prophet’s house and was surprised that his delegation did not even merit Elisha’s appearance at the door. He sent his servant, Gehazi, instead with a simple command, “Go wash in the Jordan River seven times and you will be clean.”
Naaman was now angry. Elisha had not even taken the time to see him, and the muddy Jordan River didn’t compare with the rivers in his country. Why couldn’t he just wash there and be clean? He turned his chariots around and in a rage was going to head back to Damascus, thinking this trip had been for nothing. His servants restrained him by saying, “If the prophet had asked you to do something difficult you would have done it. Why not do this simple thing?” Naaman was persuaded and headed to the Jordan River. Seven dunks in the river later, he emerged with clear, healthy skin. In his gratitude, he returned with gifts for Elisha declaring that he will trust in the God of Israel from now on. Elisha didn’t receive his gifts: a demonstration that God’s miracles are not for sale. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, had other ideas – but that is a story for another time.
Today, we have seen how the faith of a young girl, far from her own home, won over her master and mistress in an amazing way. How can we help to develop this kind of faith in our children? We are encouraged to remind our children constantly of who God is and how He responds to the needs of His people. Let’s take this to heart and determine to be more diligent in making God’s greatness and goodness known wherever we are.