“So [Naaman] went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, ‘Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel …’”
— 2 Kings 5:14-15a, ESV
From blemished to blessed
Naaman was a mighty leader, a valiant soldier, and a commander in the army; but he also was plagued with leprosy. In 2 Kings 5, Naaman goes to visit the prophet Elisha so that he might be healed of his leprosy. But when Elisha tells Naaman to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan River, Naaman becomes frustrated.
Naaman wanted Elisha to lay hands on him and heal him right there and then. He wanted an instantaneous miracle. But that’s not what he received.
Confused and bewildered, Naaman leaves Elisha’s home in anger. But that’s when his servants stop him and urge him to listen to the prophet’s instructions.
Then, probably with some trepidation and weariness, Naaman goes down and washes himself seven times in the Jordan, and, miraculously, he’s healed! It’s in that moment that Naaman comes to believe in the God of Elisha.
Not only had Naaman been cleansed of his leprosy, but he also received a fresh and renewed spirit! The cleansing water God provided transformed Naaman’s life both physically and spiritually.
The life of a leper
Leprosy is an illness we often associate with Bible-times. But, unfortunately, it is a skin disease that still plagues many impoverished people in countries such as India. Lesions may turn into sores on the skin — which can become infected. Serious cases can lead to paralysis or the need for amputation.
Many people who have been riddled with this disease are shunned by society because of an ancient misconception that leprosy is highly contagious. Anyone living with leprosy is usually regarded as an outcast.
People in the leper colonies of India have little access to even the most basic necessities — such as clean water. And water is vital for those facing this debilitating disease. Clean water can help purify infected wounds, but contaminated water can make someone’s condition even worse.
Since many people in India consider lepers “untouchables,” they cannot associate with their healthy neighbors at a nearby well. Often, they have to beg for someone to mercifully provide them with water.
But Sarang doesn’t have to beg anymore because someone gave him the gift of clean water. He is so grateful that he was eager to share his story:
My name is Sarang. I am 45 years old, and I have one daughter. I am affected with leprosy, and I live in the Maruti Nagar leprosy colony where more than 200 lepers are living. But my family is now able to get clean drinking water [from the] water pump just in front of our community. The water is so sweet and clear; we now do not need to go begging for water.
The life of a leper is filled with isolation and loneliness. But when you give him the gift of clean water, it will remind him that he is not alone or forgotten.
Water: the gift of physical and spiritual healing
Sarang’s family also received an additional gift — the chance to learn about Jesus Christ. Since local Christian partners and church leaders maintain the water project in their community, he and his neighbors have a chance to hear the Gospel often.
Clean water is not only bringing physical healing to these lepers by allowing them to safely clean their wounds, it also is bringing spiritual healing — much like the water in the Jordan did for Naaman.
For people like Naaman, who are plagued with leprosy, access to water is the first step for their physical and spiritual redemption.
Perhaps you’re like Naaman and doubting just how God will bring about restoration. Maybe you think you just don’t have enough to give to make a difference.
But it takes only $15 to provide clean water to someone like Sarang — for an entire year!
If God is calling you to provide the gift of clean water — a gift that provides physical and spiritual health — then now is the time to step out in faith as Naaman did. You can make an incredible difference in the life of someone in need.