What A Friend...
How terrible it must have been for the man with leprosy. He was a good man; an honest man who had a wonderful wife and two small children.
One day he came in from the field where he had been plowing and noticed a small sore spot on the palm of his right hand. He showed his wife and they spoke of it for just a moment then had supper and went to bed.
The next day he rose early as usual and went to the field to work, plowing the ground, getting it ready for planting. The soil was rich and he knew that with some effort he sould bring in a good crop and the little family would have food and clothing through the winter and oil for their lanterns to light the darkness of the nights.
As the days went by the sore on his hand got worse until he was forced to see the doctor at the nearby village. The doctor examined the mans hand closely and, with sadness in his eyes, told the man he had leprosy and it would never get better but it would get much worse very quickly.
The doctor wrapped the mans hand in a bandage and instructed him on what to do to care for the disease.
The man thanked the doctor and started to leave to go home. The doctor stopped him and told him he could never go home again. The leprosy was at its' worse stage now for contagion and if he went home, his wife and children would surely catch the disease.
The man asked what he should do and the doctor said, "Follow me outside and I'll show you."
When they got outside, the doctor pointed to an old house on a hill a mile away and told the man he would have to go there and never leave that place again.
The man loved his wife and children so he asked the doctor to explain to them what had happened and what he must now do. Then he went to the old house on the hill.
There were laws in those days that were made for lepers.
"The leper who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry, `Unclean, unclean.' He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone in a habitation outside the camp."
This old house on the hill was one of the places to which the law referred.
There was a fence around the house and lepers were not allowed outside the fence. They could not see or speak to or touch anyone outside the fence. They would live inside the fence until they died.
Each day someone would bring meager meals to the fence. The people inside had to stay back out of sight until those people left then they could go and get the food.
At first each day the man came to the fence and gazed out across the expanse toward his home. Sometimes he thought he saw someone standing there, looking toward him, waving at him and he waved back. The man's heart ached for his wife and children, knowing he would never see them again. But the leprosy got worse and after a while he stopped looking toward the outside world. He even stopped wondering when he would die from his disease.
Then one night he had a dream. He dreamed if he could just leave this place, he would get well. He would be healed.
He had heard of a man who did wonderful things. He heard the man could even bring back someone from the dead. He thought about it so much that he became completely obsessed by the thought.
So early one morning just as day began, he slipped away from the leper colony and, staying in the shadows, made his way to the outskirts of a town.
He saw a crowd of people following a man called Jesus and he knew this was the Man of whom he had heard.
Quietly he crept closer to the man and, just as he was seen by others, he approached the Man and fell down and worshipped Him and said to Jesus, "If you are willing I will be clean." And Jesus, feeling compassion for the man, put forth his hand and touched him, saying, 'I will; be thou clean.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
What a wonderful reunion that man and his wife and their children must have had that day.After all those years of being locked away from them without the loving touch of his wife's hand, without the hugs from his children, never seeing them, not even hearing their voices, knowing he could never again be with his loved ones, now at last, because of the love of his Savior, he was home.
What wonder that just a word and a touch made all things right again!
What a blessing to have a Lord and Saviour who loved him and healed his disease; and healed his heartaches.