to the Reverend Sarah Edmonds for this idea.
act out (a very simplified version of) the story of Naaman, from 2 Kings
story's meaning is explored.
- An adult
to lead the discussion.
- 6 readers
for the play. These could be children who are confident readers,
adults, or even (for the shorter parts) younger children who repeat their
lines aloud following a whispered prompt.
- You can
also invent non-speaking parts for the other children: extra servants or
soldiers to accompany Naaman; Naaman's wife, etc.
copies of the play script, with a reader's part highlighted on
- Dressing-up clothes for the play: it's good to have
soldier's armour (sword, helmet, etc.) for Naaman, and to provide
something for the servants and Elisha to wear, even if it's only a cloth
for their heads or a false beard, etc.
- You could
also have a hobby horse for Naaman to 'ride' to Israel, and bags for the
gold and silver he takes with him.
- A blue
blanket, sheet or other large piece of material, to be the River
- A white
sticker (or piece of paper with sellotape) to stick to Naaman's nose to
represent the leprosy.
the readers at the beginning of the service, and hand out their costumes
before the service or at the beginning, you need to prime two adults for
their (non-speaking) role in the play: the blue sheet is placed on the
ground at the beginning of the play, to represent the River
Jordan, and Naaman (plus servants) cross it on the way to see Elisha.
When he goes back to wash himself in it, the two adults will each hold an
end and hold it up (roughly at Naaman's chin height) so that Naaman can
duck down behind it seven times.
needs priming before the play: on the seventh time that he ducks behind
the sheet, he will quickly remove the sticker from his nose, so that when
he reappears the 'leprosy' has gone. If possible it's good to
practice this beforehand.
- There are
lots of great elements to this story, which can be picked out for the
children. The servant girl's example is one of them: she is a
captured Israelite, far from home in the hands of enemies, and yet she
shows compassion for her master, faith in Elisha's powers, and the
courage to make a suggestion, which her mistress could easily have
ridiculed. It is not always easy to speak out about our faith when we are
surrounded by people whose views are very different from ours. Think also
about how the girl's parents must have nurtured her faith when she was a
child, giving her a source of strength on which she could rely for the
rest of her life, even when she was far from home. Her example of love
towards her master, repaying evil (her slavery) with good, reflects
Christ's call to us to do the same.
about how desperate Naaman must have been, for him to take advice from a
slave girl. Naaman was a distinguished soldier who had often led
the Syrians to victory. But he couldn't fight leprosy and win, because in
those days there was no cure (today there is treatment). Not only was it
an ultimately fatal disease, but in those days he would have been seen as
- Think how
outraged he must have been by the reception he received. Elisha
didn't even bother to come out to greet this great general himself: he
sent his servant instead. And what a message the servant carried: dip
yourself seven times in a river. Naaman had been expecting a dramatic
miracle. Sometimes God answers our prayers in unexpected ways.
pride nearly prevented him from doing what was required for his
healing. It wasn't until he was fully obedient to Elisha's
instructions (dipping himself precisely seven times in the right river)
that he was cured. God requires us to be obedient to His teaching, too.
Today we can't go to Elisha to find God's message but we can find it in
Elisha's response at the end, too: he didn't take credit for what had
happened, but invited Naaman to give thanks to God. He lived his
life in obedience to God: he didn't want power and glory for himself, but
acted as a signpost that pointed others to God.
Naaman's Story: A Simple Drama
Narrator: This story takes place
around 800 years before Christ, and can be found in the Old Testament, in
the 5th chapter of the book called 2 Kings. It is about a great
soldier called Naaman, who had a terrible disease called leprosy.
Naaman was a Syrian, an enemy of Israel. His wife had a young slave girl
who had been captured from Israel. When this girl saw how Naaman was
suffering, she said to her mistress,
Slave-girl: If only my master could
see the great prophet, Elisha, in Israel! He would cure Naaman's
Narrator: So Naaman went with his
servants, taking plenty of silver and gold, to find the prophet Elisha.
Naaman: I wish to see the prophet
Elisha. I want him to cure me of my leprosy.
Elisha's servant: Please wait here. I
will take your message to him.
[goes into house and comes out again]
Elisha's servant: Elisha says, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the
River Jordan, and you will be cured."
Naaman: What? I thought that Elisha
would come out and wave his hand over me, and call on the name of his God.
He couldn't even be bothered to talk to me himself! Are not Abana and
Pharpar, our Syrian rivers, better than any of the waters of Israel? Why
couldn't I wash in them and be cleaned?
Naaman's servant: But sir, if the
prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn't you have done that?
It's such a simple thing to wash in the river!
Narrator: So Naaman went down to the
River Jordan and dipped himself in it . . . one . . . two . . . three . . .
four . . . five . . . six . . . seven times, as Elisha had told him to do.
And his leprosy was cured! So he went back to the man of God, and said,
Naaman: Now I know that the God of
Israel is the only God! Please accept this silver and gold, in thanks.
Elisha: I will not accept anything. It
was not me who cured you, but God.