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13 Mar | Wash and be Clean

13 March • Monday of the Third Week in Lent

2 Kings 5:1-15

1. Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favour, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife.

3. She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing.

6. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8. But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”

11. But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he 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.

15. 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; so accept now a present from your servant.”



The historicity of Naaman, the Syrian general and the prophet Elisha is attested to by Jesus who declared in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:27), “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha and none of them was cleansed but only Naaman the Syrian.” The Messiah directed the disciples of John (the Baptist), “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear…” (Mt 11:4).

Leprosy, in the Old Testament was not only a fearsome disease, but also rendered the sufferer spiritually an outcaste—“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” (Lev 13:45-46).

1. Leprosy is no respecter of persons

Though Naaman was a ‘great man’, a ‘mighty man of valour’, ‘he was a leper’ (v.1).

2. God uses anyone

The ‘little girl’ an Israelite slave/captive in Syria (to speak to her mistress, the wife of Naaman), the king of Syria, the unbelieving king of Israel, the arrogant and ‘angry’ Naaman, his humble servants to speak sense to their master, saying, “Has he actually said to you, “Wash and be clean?” (v.13).

God uses anyone, including Elisha, the man of God (vv.8, 10), who said, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, … and you shall be clean.” (v.10).

3. Faith brings glory to God

When Naaman relented and ‘trusted and obeyed’, “his flesh was restored … and he was clean.” (v.14) and now he ‘stood’ before Elisha and worshipped declaring, “I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel.” (v.15).

1. All of us have sinned (Disease of pride and disobedience that brings God’s wrath and separates us from our Holy God)

“For all have sinned.” (Rom 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23), and, separation from God, the source of life and righteousness (Eph 2:12 – “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” cf. Eph 5:8 “At one time you were darkness.”

2. Be washed in the blood of the Lamb and be reconciled to God and to one another/others

“If we walk in the light as he (God) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 Jn 1:7; Col 1:20; Heb 10:19, 22, 25, 9:14; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Rev 1:5, 7:14, 12:11; Eph 2:13-16)



Righteous Father, we thank You that when all of us were lost and separated from You by sin and rebellion, You sent Your Only Son in our flesh to be made sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Help us to use our freedom to bring the good news of Your love for all through Jesus Christ to every people, family and individual. Amen



None of us can pay for our sins, and none of us can earn our salvation.

We have to repent and humbly ask God to forgive us our pride and rebellion, and receive his saving grace, enthroning Jesus as our Saviour, Master, Standard and Christ.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9).

Daily receive and exercise His grace through the five means of grace—Word, Prayer, Fellowship, Sacraments and Witness, and, His Holy Spirit for good works “which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10)

Canon Emeritus Louis Tay

Auxiliary Priest

St Andrew’s Cathedral

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