Scripture: 2 Kings 4-7
Key verses: (5:2-3) “Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’”
Reflection: The healing of Naaman is one of my favorite passages in all of the Bible. It has it all, international intrigue, an underdog story, and a miraculous healing. As we are moving from the end of 1 Kings to the first few chapters of 2 Kings we get these memorable stories of the prophet Elijah and his successor Elisha. Each of these stories is chalked full of imagery and faithful actions.
In our passage for today I’m intrigued most by the sequence of events that took place for Naaman’s healing to occur. Let me remind you that Naaman who has leprosy is the king of Aram, not an Israelite. After the Arameans raided Israel, they took home captive a girl who served Naaman’s wife. Through a holy game of telephone, from the captive Israelite girl to Naaman’s wife to Naaman, the news spread that the prophet in Samaria could heal Naaman of his leprosy. So many questions here! Why did the Israelite girl desire to tell Naaman how to become healed? I think of myself in that situation and how bitter I would have been, perhaps relishing in the illness of the man whose army took me captive. Or perhaps on a better day I would have at least tried to bargain for my freedom with news of how to become healed. Maybe that is where this Israelite girl is coming from too, but the text doesn’t say. Instead it seems as though she freely offers this information and help. Reading this story, I can’t help but see inexhaustible compassion, compassion that looks past self-interest and truly desires healing and wholeness for all, even an enemy.
I love that the story of a foreign king being healed of leprosy because of the intel of a slave girl is in our scripture. Pause and reflect about what that says about who God is … and who God calls us to be …
May we never lose sight of the sovereignty of God who rules over all nations and at the same time cares intimately and deeply for each and every one of us across the whole wide world. And may we dare to respond in loving compassion for everyone we encounter, friend or foe, enemy or neighbor, citizen or alien, near or far.
Prayer: Holy God, we praise you for the many ways you work in our lives and in the world. By your Spirit soften our hearts that we may love others with the same self-giving compassion which you show to us. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].