Just Add Water: Wash and be Cleansed!

Sep
2012
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“Wash and be Cleansed!”

  Kings 5:13

One of the benefits of hearing an effective sermon is how it stirs our own thinking.  I listened to a sermon entitled, Just Add Water.  A few days later, the story of Naaman and Elisha popped into my mind (2 Kings 5).

I’ve learned that sometimes water is used as a metaphor for the Word of God (John 1:1-2) and Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:11-12), so what does it mean that Elisha ordered Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan river to be cleansed of his leprosy?  To me, Naaman’s leprosy represents our sin, which we can only be cleansed of by coming to Christ (the Word who became flesh).  Once we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, giving us His encouragement, His comfort, His counsel.  The Holy Spirit will also remind us of what we’ve learned of God’s word (John 14-25-26).

I see Naaman himself as a picture of our resistance to God and our determination to do things in our own strength.  Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Aram.  “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded” (v. 1).  His leprosy was not his only flaw.  He also had pride.  When Elisha’s servant told him to wash himself in the Jordan, he was insulted, and almost walked away without a healing.  He said, “I thought he would sure come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hands over the spot and cure me of my leprosy” (v.11).  My thinking is that is Elisha had done all of that, Elisha would have gotten the glory instead of God.  Naaman would have left thinking that Elisha healed him, rather than God.  Naaman may have also thought that God and His prophets could be bought if Elisha accepted his gifts.

Instead, Naaman left changed on the outside and the inside, saying “for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord” (v.17).  Interestingly, Naaman, a commander and great man in his own right, was now referring to himself as a servant.  Before he was healed he was mad that Elisha didn’t come out and greet him personally; now he’s calling himself Elisha’s servant.  God replaced his pride with humility.

God promises to make us a new creation, and in the story of Naaman, we see that promised fulfilled instantly in his life.

 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

BOW is my first experience in blogging, and my writing has undergone an evolution since I started. I use If I Knew Then What I Know Now to think aloud about my Christian walk. When you read it, my hope is that WE (the BOW community & friends) then discuss how to apply God's word into our everyday lives in a practical manner. As Christian lay-theologians, we'll talk about our world, and how we can be in it but not of it. So whatever your thoughts are about what you read, PLEASE share.
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