Dipping and Diving: What Naaman and a Shell Seeker Taught Me

April 30, 2024 | Jaci Miller

“I found another one!” My seven-year-old niece pushed her goggles onto her forehead and held out a tiny shell. She dropped it into the baggie I held. “How many have you found?” 

The lake water lapped gently around my waist as I floated along. I opened my hand to my niece. Nothing but rocks and sand. I had been reaching down and scooping bits off the lake bottom but kept coming up empty.

“I can’t seem to find any,” I told the little water bug. “You’re the Super Shell Seeker!”

But in my heart, I knew why. Utterly uninterested in dunking my head, I couldn’t fully see the lake bottom. My random grab-and-scoop method couldn’t compete with my niece’s approach. She willingly submerged, flailing her legs and pushing with her arms until she came face to face with the sand. Inches from her targets, she scouted the lake bed and produced treasure after treasure for her collection.

2 Kings 5:1-15 relates the story of a man who also wanted something very dear. His health.

Naaman was a bigshot. The commander of the army of Aram, he had ascended the ranks until he’d likely reached the apex of his career. He had to have seen a great deal and worked very hard to reach this station in life. But he could do nothing about his skin. He had leprosy.

While it’s hard to know what laws Aramean culture followed, in nearby Israel, people with this skin disease quarantined, often living as outcasts. A protection for others but a social death sentence for the sick.

Naaman surely longed to have his leprosy cured. So, when his Israelite slave girl told him about the prophet, Elisha, in Israel, Naaman went to see him.

Elisha instructed Naaman to act like my niece! To go for a swim! Literally, to dip seven times in the Jordan River and he would be cured.

Verse 11 tells us, “But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So, he turned and went off in a rage.”

Thankfully, Naaman’s servants talked him into obeying the prophet and God healed his skin! Naaman even proclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel” (v. 15).

So, here’s my point. Times exist when God asks us to be still. Other times, He asks us to move. He asked Naaman to dip. To humble himself and do the work. To exercise a little bit of faith by “doing.”

My niece was willing, too. She dove when others would not. To gain a treasure others could not.

I chose to float along.

And so, I wonder. Am I “floating” in other areas of my life?

Maybe I expect God to wave his hand and cure my situation. Perhaps I’m unwilling to do what I need to be doing.

Is God asking you to dive when you want to float?