“But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean”.’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.” (2 Kings Chapter 5)
This is an extract from today’s readings at Mass. It tells of Naaman who had leprosy. One of his servants said he could be cured if he went to the Prophet in Israel. He did this and the prophet asked him to bathe seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman was offended, feeling that the prophet would come out, call down God in a powerful way and bring instant healing. Furthermore he resented bathing in the Jordan since he believed the rivers in his own country were superior. His servants felt he had misread the situation and offered the advice quoted above.
It’s interesting that sometimes we seem to believe healing involves some gigantic effort on all parts. We find it difficult to accept that, at times, God offers healing in a very real and practical way. Bathing in a river is fairly straight forward and was, as can be seen in this story, all that was required.
We are all in need of cleansing from the various forms of spiritual leprosy that take hold of us. Perhaps the healing is simple for us too. Maybe the answer is at hand. Possibly the “river” is close by. Let us approach and, through the approach, be cleansed.