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The man who washed seven times

To tell the story of Naaman and how a young girl gave him advice, and to consider what it might say to us.

by Michelle Walker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To tell the story of Naaman and how a young girl gave him advice, and to consider what it might say to us.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to be familiar with the story of the healing of Naaman, found in 2 Kings chapter 5.
  • Talcum powder and cotton wool (for the skin disease), and perhaps a cloak for Naaman.
  • A large sheet to represent the river – blue if available.
  • A rolled up scroll for the letter.
  • Six children to act out the story: the slave girl, Naaman, two kings, Elisha the prophet and Elisha’s messenger. No prior rehearsal is required and the story can be acted out as the assembly takes place.

Assembly

  1. Choose a child to be Naaman; maybe give him/her a cloak. Dab some talcum powder on their face and hands. Be sensitive to any child who may have a skin complaint.

    Say that there’s an old story in the Bible from before the time of Jesus about a great and powerful man called Naaman. He was commander of the army of the King of Aram, and was a mighty and brave man who had won many victories. But he suffered from a skin disease for which there was no cure or medicine.
  2. Tell the children that at the time the story is set the rich people had servants and slaves, and some of them were just children. Naaman’s wife had a young girl as a servant. The little girl knew of Naaman’s skin disease and said to her mistress, ‘I wish that my master, Naaman, would meet the prophet. He would heal Naaman of his skin disease.’ And Naaman’s wife told her husband what the girl had said.

    Explain that a prophet was a person who talked with God and who God helped to do amazing things. Naaman went to the king and told him what the little slave girl had said. The king told Naaman to go at once to the country of Israel. He was to present himself to the king there and take with him a letter and some gifts from the King of Aram. So Naaman left and went to the King of Israel.
  3. When Naaman arrived in Israel he went straight to the king and handed him the letter. But when the King of Israel read the letter he was really upset! Why? Because the letter said that Naaman was visiting in order to be healed by the King of Israel! ‘That’s not right,’ said the king. ‘I’m not God. I can’t heal people and make them well again!’ And he tore his clothes to show how angry he was.
  4. Elisha, the prophet and man of God, heard how upset the King of Israel was. He sent a message to the king saying that Naaman should come to him. Naaman did as he was told, and went to Elisha’s house. He stood outside the door. But Elisha didn’t answer his door. Instead he sent a messenger to Naaman, who told Naaman to go to the River Jordan and wash in the water there seven times. Then his skin disease would be healed. Imagine being told to go and have seven washes!
  5. Naaman left Elisha’s house, very angry. ‘I thought Elisha himself would come out and see me and heal me of my disease,’ he said, ‘not send a messenger to say go and wash in the dirty River Jordan seven times.’ Naaman was furious.

    But his servants came to him and talked to him. They said that if the prophet had told him to do something difficult and brave, he would have done it straight away. Why not do what the prophet said? After all, he only said, ‘Wash and you will be clean.’

    So Naaman went down to the River Jordan and did just as Elisha said.

    Let two people hold up the blue cloth, and Naaman stand behind it. Naaman dips as if into the water six times – let the children count each dip. Ask each time if Naaman has been healed, and give the answer No. As he goes down the seventh time help the child wipe off the talcum powder and come up ‘clean’. Naaman had been healed!
  6. Naaman had obeyed Elisha and his skin disease had been cured – his skin was clean and he had been healed. Give all the actors a big round of applause as they sit down.
  7. Ask if the children can remember back to the beginning of the story. Who had said that Naaman should go and find Elisha to be healed? The slave girl. This young girl gave some advice to a grown man, who acted on that advice and as a result became healed of his disease.

    There probably won’t be many times when we are able to give advice to grown-ups, but as we grow up and learn things day by day it’s good to remember the advice we are given now. We might be able to use it to help others as we get older.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Think of all of the good advice you have been given.

Do you always listen to advice?

Whose advice do you most respect?

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for all the times that we have been given good advice

by teachers, parents and friends.

Help us to remember that good advice

and, as we get older, to help others.

Help us to know the difference between good and bad advice.

Amen.

Song/music

‘’Tis the gift’ (Come and Praise, 97)

Publication date: May 2006   (Vol.8 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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