Read 2 Kings 5
Focus on verses 11-12
In this story, we have a high ranking Syrian officer, Naaman, who has a problem… he has an incurable disease. It seems that in a recent raid the Syrians had captured some Hebrews whom they had now enslaved. So this young Hebrew girl who is working as a slave to Naaman’s wife mentions that there is a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman’s disease. This information finds its way to the Syrian king who sends Naaman to Samaria with small fortune in silver, gold, and clothing presumably as payment for the prophet’s services.
It becomes evident that Naaman is not all that exited about going to ask for help from the people he has been recently pillaging perhaps because he views them as inferior to the Syrians, but he agrees to go. When he finally locates Elijah, he takes another blow to his pride when Elijah doesn’t even come out to meet him but sends a message to him by Gehazi to go wash himself in the Jordan River. Had it not been for the wise words of one of his servants, he might have allowed his pride to prevent him from finding his healing. There is a related sub-plot in the story around the greed of Gehazi who does not understand why his master would not accept at least some of the loot that Naaman offered in return for his healing.
Naaman had to overcome his pride to be healed. Gehazi on the other hand, failed to overcome his greed and inherited the disease of Naaman. Looking at this through 20th century eyes and the medical knowledge we now have about contagious diseases like leprosy may explain why Gehazi got sick as the gifts that Naaman brought were quite likely contaminated and carried the disease, however, it does not in any way discount the hand of God in the overall story. When Gehazi accepted the Syrian gifts, the leprosy came came as a bonus, and as a reminder to him and all of us that the dangers that lurk within our hearts and minds in the form of pride and greed have potential to do us more harm than the diseases that at times ail our physical bodies.