Captain Naaman could not believe his ears! Had he heard the servant right? Surely it could not be true that God’s helper, Elisha, had sent that message! The servant had said he was to go and wash himself seven times in the Jordan River.
What good could washing in any river do? How could his skin be healed with water? Naaman had bathed many times at his home in the country of Syria. That water had not changed the way his skin looked, not one bit.
The little maid who lived in his house had told his wife about the prophet, Elisha, who lived in Samaria. Naaman had been sure that Elisha would come out of his house and lay his hands on him and pray loudly to his God to take away the sickness. But instead, only a servant came out of the house! And the servant told him to do this strange thing – go and wash seven times in the Jordan River.
Naaman said he would rather go to the rivers in his own country. There were two beautiful, clean rivers near his home. And he had seen the Jordan River on his way into Samaria to find Elisha. The water was dirty, with mud along the sides, and bugs floating on it. Who would want to wash in that?
Maybe this whole trip was just a waste of time. Maybe he would never find healing for his sickness. He turned around angrily to go home.
Then his own servant spoke. “Master, if the man of God had told you to do some great thing, you would have done it. This is just a simple thing. Shouldn’t you do as he said?”
Naaman stopped. He thought about what his servant said. Then he made up his mind. He would do it! He would obey the strange words of Elisha. He would wash seven times in the muddy water of the Jordan River.
Down to the riverbank he went. Stepping into the water, he felt the mud beneath his feet. He waded out until the river was around his waist. He dipped down under the water. He dipped again and again until, finally, he went under for the seventh time.
His heart was beating hard as he came up from the water. Would his skin be healed? As he wiped the water from his eyes, the first thing he saw was his hand. The white spots of sickness were gone! His skin was perfect, just like that of a little child! “God be praised!” he shouted, joy ringing in every word. “The sickness is gone!”
Our lesson is about Naaman the leper and how he received his healing when he obeyed the instructions of the prophet of God and dipped seven times in the muddy Jordan River. Through this lesson, we want to stress that God’s commands must be obeyed, even if they are not understood.
In your time together this week, review the story with your child and then allow him to make a river and a Naaman figure to dramatize the scene at the river. For the river, fold a piece of blue construction paper horizontally so the part that folds up is about an inch below the top of the paper. Help your child to cut waves along the edge that folds up.
A Naaman figure can be traced or cut from a Bible-story coloring book, or a figure could be cut from a catalog. Back the figure with construction paper or cover it with clear adhesive plastic to make it more sturdy. Your child can retell the story and “dip” Naaman under the water by inserting the figure between the two sides of the folded blue paper.