Healing waters, sounds soothing doesn’t it. Peaceful. Inviting. Paints the most tranquil postcard picture, the kind you want to send to others with the tantalizing message of ‘wish you were here!‘
Last week, we looked at the river of God, the waters that needed to be crossed. God delivering us on dry ground. Today, we go in the waters ~ we immerse … healing waters.
We go to 2 Kings 5. There is a fellow by the name of Naaman (Naw- mawn). He is the commander of the army of Syria, known to be great and highly regarded. Victorious in battle and the word says, ‘he was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy’. The story goes on telling that his servant girl is an Israelite and suggests that Naaman go to Israel and seek out a prophet for healing. To make a long story, not so long, Naaman goes to the King of Israel, who then sends him to Elisha the prophet.
Naaman was READY to be healed, he was packed and had the treasure chest to prove it. He brought along silver, gold and 10 sets of clothing (whahoo ~ portable Macys!) to give as gifts. When he approached Elisha’s house, Elisha sends out a messenger saying ‘Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed’.
Hm… he sends out his MESSENGER? Dude I expected MORE! Naaman went away quite peeved, and understandably so, after all, he had come all this way. “All I have to do is go dip in the Jordan, you have to be kidding!” What happened to all the ‘call on the name of the Lord, and wave his hand over me’ stuff? I want DRAMA! I want BIG! I WANT to be HEALED!
Leprosy, is not a pretty disease. It deforms, and debilitates. One of the external evidences are skin legions, and in most cases there is a loss of sensation in the feet or hands. Not only the physical pain and disablements to deal with, but in many cultures, isolation is the social response. Naaman was getting desperate.
In Naamans distress over his expectations of grandeur, his servant approaches, and gently expresses, ‘if you were told to do some wonderful, great BIG thing, would you do it? This is simple, you CAN do this, why not just do it?‘ (my paraphrase) Simple obedience. The best definition that I have come across so far for obedience is ‘having a clear understanding of the instructions and acting accordingly’.
Couldn’t get any clearer for Naaman, pretty straight forward. Verse 14, ‘So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times … and his flesh was restored and became clean’, the New Living Translations says ‘and he was healed!’ Most excellent.
Some dipping and he was good as new. NO, not hardly. Heres the fun part. The Hebrew word used for ‘dipped’ literally means ‘PLUNGE’, to become fully saturated. To help paint the picture, it is the Hebrew rendition of the Greek word ‘baptisma’, yes, baptism, ‘to submerge, immerse’ ~ WET! To go down, and come up taking on the likeness of that which you are immersed in. In water baptism, we go down ‘us’ and come up identifying with and to the Lord Jesus Christ. Dying to self, now alive in Christ.
Naaman went down, immersed in the waters, allowing ALL (again ALL) of him, to become saturated. He didn’t just put his face in the water and pat the water with his hands, He went completely in. He came up … healed. Healing waters. Was there something special in the water? No. It was him going in with ALL he had, obeying the simple, and seeing what God had for him.
What does this story have for US? We too can be saturated with healing – restoring waters. What do we come with? What is our ailment ~ physical, emotional, spiritual? Are we too, getting desperate enough to pack up and seek healing. Oh, we may be asked to do the ‘so simple’ (or perhaps some of us, it is BIG) but … ‘just do it’. Don’t take the simplicity of God for granted, or as Naaman expected, give me something BIG, like ‘oh I have to have the pastor pray for me (yet there ARE times) or have the elders anoint me (there ARE times). What is being asked of YOU? Do you need to take the plunge in the river of God?
I have a very dear friend who REALLY wants healing, restoration in an area of their life. They have not only come to the waters and ‘gone in’, they in a sense waited until the pool was empty and went to the high dive. Yes, the climb up the ladder was tedious, even scary, but they have walked to the edge of the board, and have taken the ‘plunge’. Obedience in such a way, that to others they may seem silly or extreme. But this friend is becoming disabled, and doesn’t want to lose sensation, or experience isolation, they are desperate!
May we too come to the river of God and immerse ourselves. For goodness sake if you feel compelled to do a swan dive, feel free! Some of us may do a belly flop, but hey, at least we are in the water. Allowing Him to soak up every corner, every crevice of our life. A total ‘dipping’ we will do! Silly, simple, BIG ~ even scary? Perhaps. But come on in, the water, the river, the PRESENCE of God is GREAT! Come in and see what God has for YOU!
Immerse yourself in the healing waters.
In Him, DeDe (Ps. 92:4 ‘You thrill me, LORD…)