You Want Me To Wash In A Muddy River?

The Healing Of Naaman

Shores of the Jordan River

“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance to Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper” (2 Kings 5:1).

Naaman was an honorable man, a mighty man of valor, and captain of the hosts of the king of Syria. Although an idol worshipper, the Lord used him to bring deliverance to Syria. He was undoubtedly unaware that the Lord used him in this capacity. The Bible says he was a leper. Leprosy, in the Bible, was a type of unredeemed man and sin because there was no cure for it at the time, just as there no earthly cure for sin.

The Syrians had invaded Israel and brought back captives. Among them was a “little maid” and she was brought into Naaman’s home to serve his wife. The maid spoke to Naaman’s wife of a prophet in Israel (Samaria) who would heal Naaman of his leprosy. She spoke of the prophet Elisha. And what she said came to Naaman’s attention. Naaman told the king of Syria of the maid’s words and the king told Naaman to go and seek out this prophet for his healing. The king provided Naaman with a letter of introduction and explanation to the king of Israel. So, Naaman departed for Israel with a considerable amount of silver, gold, and clothing to purchase his healing from the prophet.

He presented the letter the king of Syria had provided him to the king of Israel. When the king of Israel read the letter, he rent his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man (King of Syria) does send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy.” The king of Israel thought the king of Syria was seeking a quarrel with him.

Elisha sent word to the king of Israel to send Naaman to him that Naaman might know that there was a prophet of God in Israel. So, Naaman came with his entourage and stood in Elisha’s doorway. Elisha did not come out personally and greet him but sent a messenger saying, “Go wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.

In his pride, Naaman had expected Elisha to receive him personally – to be afforded every courtesy. After all, he was a very powerful man, maybe even the mightiest military commander of that day. He was very angry with the way he was treated by Elisha and said the following: “I thought Elisha would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.”

Naaman thought that the dirty Jordan couldn’t compare with the beautiful and clear rivers in Syria. If washing in a river would cleanse him of the leprosy, then Syria’s rivers made much more sense to him. So, he turned and went away in great anger.

His servants came to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather then, when he said to you, wash, and be clean?” Naaman listened to the words of his servants and went down to the Jordan and dipped himself seven times, just as Elisha had said. When Naaman came up the seventh time his flesh was clean. The account says that his flesh was restored and it was that of a little child.

Naaman returned to Elisha and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the Earth, but in Israel.” He then sought to give Elisha an offering, but Elisha refused. Naaman then said that he wanted to offer a sacrifice to the Lord which he said he would do from that time forward.

Naaman, in this account, represents all of us prior to coming to the Lord. His leprosy in this account is picture of sin or the sin nature sin. He could not heal himself from leprosy and more than we can free ourselves from sin. Naaman thought that he should be afforded some special treatment. This points to man’s pride and the fact that all must come the same way to the Lord. The Jordan in this account is a type of Calvary. Yes, it was muddy and there were other more beautiful rivers, but as a type of what Jesus paid at the cross, there is healing in no other place. It is the cross where Jesus paid the price for our Sin (leprosy), and where we will find healing. Naaman was grateful for his healing and now knew that the Lord was the true God, and sought to give Elisha an offering. Elisha refused.

This whole account points to the Lord’s mercy and grace that we receive freely out of the Lord’s great love for us. The Lord has nothing for sale. Naaman received his healing and came away with a faith in the Lord that he did not have previously. We come, in our leprosy (sin), and the Lord cleanses us and we walk out this life in fellowship with him for the great things he has done for us. Just as Naaman sought to offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and Him only in the future, we place our faith in Christ and Him Crucified for all the days of our lives.

David said it this way in Psalm 116:

“I Love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications (we all come needy), Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.”

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Tom Quinn Ministries – 2021

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