Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Green Spot Of Leprosy

Jabin’s stomach twisted as he inspected the spot Hannah pointed out to him. It was a small green spot on the interior wall of their tiny Hadrach – a dwelling of stone. Jabin knew all too well the dangerous possibilities that green spot posed.

His next-door neighbors, Felix and Esther, were forced to evacuate their own hadrach when the priest quarantined it for seven days after examining a similar spot. When the priest returned at the end of the week, the green leprosy had spread and Felix and Esther were required to tear out the infected stones and throw them away at an unclean place outside the city. As the law required, they scraped down their entire hadrach, then dumped the plaster outside the city as well.

They bought new stones to replace the infected ones and replastered everything. It cost Felix and Esther a considerable portion of their meager income to pay for the repairs and the ceremonial cleansing.

And theirs was one of the mild cases; others had the green leprosy return even after replacing the stones. Their hadrachs were completely torn down and disposed of.

Hannah wrung her hands as she watched Jabin inspect the green spot. “What do you think?”

He rubbed the green surface of the dark stone with his thumb. It was slimy and damp. “It doesn’t look good.” He concluded.

“Oh no.” Hannah’s voice shook. “What are we going to do?”

Jabin turned to her, placed a calming hand on her arm and looked her in the eyes. “You know the law, Hannah. We have to report this to the priest. Like it or not.”

“But what if it’s the green leprosy, Jabin? I don’t want to loose everything.” He could see water pooling in her eyes. Normally she would have handled such a situation with ease and solid faith in God, but her pregnancy put her in a more emotional state.

“What if we have to tear down our house or replace everything?” She worried, “We can’t afford that. You can barely put food on the table as it is.”

Jabin forced himself not to take that as slight against his meager abilities and small income and instead focused on Hannah’s needs. He led her to a pile of cushions on the floor.

“Come over here and rest.”

Hannah lowered herself down with obvious effort.

“Don’t worry about the spot. I’ll take care of it.”

“How can I not worry? This is our house. This is where our child is to be born and to grow up.”

Jabin brushed a moist tendril out of Hannah’s eyes. “Yes, it is. And if this is where God wants us to remain, he will take care of the green spot.”

He tipped her chin up and looked into her eyes. “Remember the Lord, Hannah. He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.”

She frowned but nodded.

“Good,” He said. “Now you lay here and get some rest, I will go to the priest and tell him what we have seen.” Jabin stood to leave but Hannah quickly grabbed his hand.

“Wait.” She pleaded. “Pray with me before you go.”

Jabin smiled and knelt down beside her. He took both her hands in his and bowed his head. When they had finished beseeching God for His help, Jabin stood. He reached down to smooth Hannah’s long dark hair and placed a tender kiss on her forehead. “I’ll return soon. Don’t be afraid, God will provide.”

An hour later Jabin returned with the somber priest who made quick work of his inspection. He felt carefully around the green spot with a cloth then rubbed the spot itself. It left a nasty green smudge across the cloth, which he showed to them with a grim look on his aged face. No doubt he would be ceremonially unclean now.

“It appears,” He said rather grouchily, “God has chosen to keep you here.” Then he let his solemn expression soften into a smile as he gave his full report. “This is not the green spot of leprosy; the green on your hadrach is only on the surface, and no deeper.”

Hannah gasped and Jabin smiled with her.

“Praise our God!” She exclaimed.

“But,” the priest said with a cautiously, “I suggest you cleanse these walls thoroughly.”

Jabin nodded happily, “Yes, Father. We will.”

“And Hannah…”

“Yes Father?”

The priest looked at her with a twinkle in his eyes. “Praise our God indeed!”

This story was based on:

Leviticus 14:33-40 When … I put a mark of leprosy on a house … the one who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, … and if the mark on the walls … has greenish or reddish depressions and appears deeper than the surface, then the priest shall … quarantine the house for seven days. ... If the mark has … spread …, then the priest shall order them to tear out the stones … and throw them away …. (NASB)