Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CLEAR AS MUD (07/18/19)
TITLE: As Clean As Mud Can Make You
By Graham Insley
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Elisha was said to be someone who could perform miracles. Even heal leprosy. A man with a strange God and terrible power. Well, today he would find out; in a few hours he would be at his door. Let him prove himself. Let him come out, shout, demand his God turn up, put on a great show and perform one of his miracles.
A few short hours later His voice was in full uproar. “Come out I say. Shout and babble all you like but lay your hands on me and heal me.” The only response was a shaking, frightened servant who appeared at the door.
Naaman angrily shook the side of his cape. “Does he know who I am? Tell him. Make him come to the door.”
“He said to go and bathe in the Jordan, sire. He will not come down. This is his message.”
“What do you mean this is his message?” Naaman’s voice was like a whispered thunderstorm, all threat but not yet a rolling clash. “Tell him to come down at once or I will come up.”
“No sire. To the Jordan you must go. Dip seven times. That is what he said, sire.”
“Come. We go home. Why waste our time here?”
Naaman turned his small company back towards Syria, complaining to all who would listen as he travelled home. “Dip myself in filthy water. Why his instructions are as clear as the mud that flows pretending to be a river. How can I get made whole in unclean waters? Are not Abana and Pharpar cleaner than all the waters here.”
“Master,” his servant hesitatingly put forward, “these rivers of Damascus are clean waters. But if this prophet told you to do something mighty, would you not do it? Come, dip yourself in the Jordan. What is there to lose?”
“What is there to lose? Everything. Why, I don’t know what I will catch in this strange muddy water. It doesn’t flow clear like our rivers. It is filthy, full of rubbish and human waste. Abana is clear to drink, this putrid Israelite river is as clear as mud.
“No matter, lord, would it hurt to do as he says. I’m sure we can find a cleaner spot where you can quickly end this affair, and at least see.”
“Oh, come then. Let us get this over with.”
Naaman was surprised when he pulled up beside the Jordan. The water looked very clean, not at all like he expected. He looked at the sparkling edges as they ran their course and smiled. “These waters don’t look bad at all. We will away to the edge; I will strip while you keep watch.”
Slowly removing his outer garment, Naaman entered the cool waters and shivered from their touch. One… two… three times he dipped his head under the water. Feeling nothing, he headed back towards the bank.
“No, master.” The servant’s racing heart did not prevent him from speaking out. “Seven times he said. You can defeat armies, lord. Surely you can do something so simple.”
With a huge sigh, Naaman turned again to deeper water. Four… five… six times he again dumped his whole head beneath the flow. “Nothing. There is no change.” The scabs looked as they did before.
“One more time, lord. Just one more time. That will be the full seven then and we will see how clean these waters can make you.”
Again, Naaman did what he had to… and rose from the water with perfectly healed skin. “It’s truly a miracle. Instructions that seemed so strange have made me whole. Why would this God of Israel heal me? I am an important man in Syria, we worship Rimmon, yet I cannot do that anymore. I now know there is no God in all the earth but in Israel. Yet, my master still bows to Rimmon. The way forward is full of danger and confusion. Muddy waters indeed. Come, we must seek answers from this Elisha, my skin may be clean… but the future is now as clear as mud.”
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