There lived in Syria a captain named Naaman. He was in great favor with his king because he had fought many battles, and saved his country. But in the midst of all his honors, God smote him with a disease called leprosy. This was a very sad affliction: the hair fell from the head, the nails from the hands; sores covered the body, and all strength and ease were taken away. No one could give Naaman relief; all his own money, and all the power of the king, could not cure him. It was a sad grief to him to think that he never should be well again.
Among his servants was a little girl, who, during the wars of Israel, had been carried away from her home. She was now a poor slave, far from her parents and those she loved. As the little captive looked on her master, she wished that he might again enjoy his health, and be free from all that he suffered. One day when waiting on her mistress, she said how much she wished her master would go to the prophet in Israel, who could cure him of his leprosy. This prophet was Elisha; and we may suppose that she had known of the great cures he had wrought, and she thought he was so kind, that if her master went to him he would be sure to return home quite well.
When the master was told of the words of the young slave-girl he believed them, and went to Elisha and returned to his house quite well.
How glad the little maid must have been when she saw her master coming back. How anxiously she must have looked at him to see if the ugly white sores had gone. How she must have thanked God for giving her courage to speak.
Can you not fancy, too, how kind Naaman and his wife must have been to the little maid? How they must have thanked her for what she had done.
In the conduct of the little captive maid we notice these good marks—
1. She was a benevolent child. Stolen from her dear parents, she was now a poor slave. Yet instead of anger against her master, she felt only love and kindness. If like some children, she had been sullen and unforgiving, Naaman would not have been cured of his disease. Let us learn to return good for evil.
2. She was a truth-telling little maid, or her master would not have left his home, and taken with him gold, silver, and garments, and have gone a journey of one hundred miles, merely upon her word. If he had known that she told lies, he would not have gone to this trouble and expense. He would probably have said, "Why should I attend to what that slave-girl says, whom I have so often found speaking falsely? No, I cannot believe her words." But he did credit what she said; and thus showed he knew that at all times she loved to speak the truth. What a lesson is here for young and old!
3. She was a useful girl. When all the physicians in Syria could not restore her master, she told him how he might be healed. She was of more value to him than all his bags of gold and silver, and all the favor of the king. A very young Christian may tell the most important of all truths to a sinner — that Jesus is the only Savior, and that all who believe in Him will be saved.
4. She was a pious child. She had not forgotten the prophet who had power to heal. She was a little missionary. If we were carried away into a land of idols, how would it be with us? Should we be able and willing to direct any one of the heathen to a greater prophet than Elisha, even the Lord Jesus, and tell of His precious blood, which alone can take away the leprosy of sin?