First, thanks to the Healing Pathway ministry team for a spectacular dramatic reading yesterday in worship! We will have to reprise this one day for the children of KidZone.
Now, to the text at hand. It comes from 2 Kings 5: 1-15. This was a period in the life of the people of God when all their attempts to ‘be like everyone else in the region’ were falling flat. Larger powers with more might, more soldiers, more firepower, were threatening on all sides. Among those threats, to the North, was Aram. At first blush the story seems inconsequential, personal, a side-plot, and to some degree it is, unless we see it as one way to establish the ‘authority’ of the new prophet Elisha, who had (literally) assumed the mantle of that great prophet of the age, Elijah.
As so ably portrayed in our dramatic reading yesterday, it’s a mighty strange way to show Elisha’s authority. He says and does next to nothing in the story. Sends a couple of messages, but that’s about it. But oh, what those messages do!! The first is typically Old Testament prophetic; he tells the feckless King of Israel to stop throwing a hissy fit over something that he can’t do anything about! “Power to heal doesn’t rest with you, Majesty, but with God!” In similar fashion he takes Naaman down a few pegs too. Naaman – the Mighty Warrior was used to people jumping to attention when he so much as coughed, so to be virtually ignored by this “man of God” doesn’t sit well with the leprous legionary. Nevertheless, in two text messages, Elisha manages to lift the story into the realm of the mysterious Creator-Redeemer God, whose influence isn’t bounded by politics or geography, or by human notions of ‘power’. The drip of water from healed hands signals the infinited capacity of God to mend, restore, heal, make new.
That’s worthy of our attention, don’t you think?