The Little Girl

Read: 2 Kings 5:1-14

If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! (v. 3 NRSV)

The most influential character in this story appears in only two verses and does not receive a name. She is known simply as the “little girl.” Yet she displays a remarkably mature faith. Having been captured on a border-raid, this Israelite slave girl nevertheless expresses a deep desire to help her master Naaman. Naaman is a great man in Aram; he is also a leper.

Naaman decides to follow his servant’s advice, though he has no idea what awaits him in Israel. He eventually arrives at the house of Elisha, who offends his sense of entitlement by not even coming out to meet him. Elisha simply sends a messenger who tells Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times. This offends Naaman’s sense of power, suggesting that the dirty little Jordan River could heal what all the magicians of Aram were unable to do.

Eventually Naaman goes down to the Jordan and washes, and to his astonishment is healed! The narrator then tells us what it means: Naaman’s flesh becomes as clean as that of a little child (v. 14). Now he and the little girl are the same. As Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). The little girl’s witness was used by God to up-end the power structures of kings and kingdoms. Do you speak in such a way that will let God do the same through you? —Travis WestAs you pray, ask God to use your words for his glory.

About the Author

Travis West
Travis West

Travis West is the Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at Western Theological Seminary.