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Which way to the river Jordan?
Like many of us, when faced with the many questions surrounding the pandemic, I needed some guidance as to how to respond. For example, did I need to choose between relying on God and going along with material remedies? Did I need to choose between loving God supremely and paying attention to the politics on each side of the debate?
To find answers, I turned to the Bible, and it opened to the account of Namaan in the book of Second Kings (see 5:1–19). I read rather quickly what I thought was a familiar story. But I hadn’t remembered its surprising ending.
Naaman was famous in his country as the successful commander of the army of Syria. But he had leprosy. He learned that a man in Israel named Elisha could heal through God’s power. So, Naaman set off for Israel seeking healing. However, rather than receiving this famous warrior, who arrived with great fanfare, Elisha simply sent instructions to Naaman. He was to wash seven times, not in the clean rivers of Naaman’s home country, but in the muddy Jordan River of Israel. Deeply offended by Elisha’s response and instructions, Naaman went off in a rage. But his servants reminded him that if Elisha had commanded him to do some great thing, he would have done it. So, Naaman listened, humbly washed in the river Jordan as he had been instructed, and was completely healed.
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