Naaman

Naaman was a five-star general in the Syrian army and also a leper. His wife had working for her a little Jewish slave girl who mentioned one day that there was a prophet named Elisha back home who could cure leprosy as easily as a toad cures warts. So Naaman took off for Israel with a letter of introduction from the king and a suitcase full of cash and asked Elisha to do his stuff.

Elisha told him to go dunk in the Jordan seven times, and after some initial comments to the effect that there were rivers back in Syria that made the Jordan look like a leaky faucet, Naaman went and did what he was told. When he came out of the water, his complexion was positively radiant. Naaman was so grateful that he converted on the spot and reached into his suitcase for an inch of fifties, but Elisha said he was a prophet of Yahweh, not a dermatologist, and refused to take a cent.

Elisha had a servant named Gehazi, however, who had different ideas. He hot-footed it after Naaman and told him that Elisha had changed his mind. He said that if Naaman would like to make asmall contribution to charity, he, Gehazi, would make sure it got into the right hands. Naaman was only too pleased to hand out the fifties, and Gehazi went home and deposited them in his personal checking account.

When Elisha got wind of it, he told Gehazi that the healing power of God was not for sale to the highest bidder and, to press his point home, transferred Naaman's leprosy to him. For the sake of Naaman's newfound faith in Yahweh as above all a God of love and mercy, it would be nice to believe that news of Elisha's overreaction never reached him in Syria.

2 Kings 5

~originally published in Peculiar Treasures and later in Beyond Words