"Wash, and be clean"

THE fifth chapter of II Kings contains the familiar story of the healing of Naaman the leper. Very clearly the narrator sets forth the might and valor of the captain of the host of Syria. He makes it plain that in pomp and pride the mighty warrior waited upon the prophet of Israel, seeking deliverance from his loathsome affliction. He portrays the anger of the haughty suppliant when Elisha sent unto him his messenger, saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times." Naaman was wroth. He had expected to be healed, but he had a very definite idea of the manner in which his healing should be accomplished. It should be a spectacular event, as befitted one of his rank and circumstances in life. Unable to see the spiritual significance of the prophet's demand upon him, he entirely misinterpreted the command. He resented not only the blow to his personal pride, but likewise the affront to his country. Wash! If he needs must wash, he preferred Syrian waters for that purpose, averring they were "better than all the waters of Israel." "May I not wash in them," he cried, "and be clean?"

It is worthy of note that the servants of the Syrian were instrumental in opening his eyes to the demands of Truth, uncovering the basic error of mortal mind,—the pride of life, expressing itself in inherent disobedience. "If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing," they asked, "wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?"

January 17, 1925

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