Jeremiah 17:14 (New Living Translation)
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.
Have you ever felt past the point of healing? That all the work you’ve done, all the sins you have committed, were far too heavy to atone for? You’re not alone. In fact, every person who has ever been born has experienced pain, sorrow, and unimaginable hurt. Even Christ Himself was required to suffer in order to restore the human race.
Human means of healing are flawed and broken. In fact, many of the nonmedical ‘therapies’ we prescribe may indeed be sin in disguise. Substance abuse, greed, lust, and related addictions tend to generate even more pain, a far cry from the release the actions were intended to produce. Thousands of people around us are crying out for help every day. Indeed, this cry for help is echoed in Jeremiah 8:22 - “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”
In the light of all this pain and hurt, how then are we to be healed?
There is one substance, rare and divine as it may be, that is capable of healing every wound, smoothing every scar, and restoring every spiritual turmoil to perfect peace.
One of the most beautiful depictions of the love of God is found in the mention of the Balm of Gilead. Mentioned three times in the entire Bible, the Balm of Gilead can be historically defined as a soothing ointment derived from several plants native to the Mediterranian. In related Biblical works, the balm is referred to as the “balsam of Mecca.” A precious and rare commodity, the highly aromatic substance was used to treat cuts, wounds, burns, and other physical damages. It was a very expensive and very exclusive ointment, reserved for the richest and most powerful residents of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian empires.
There are only three places in scripture where the Balm of Gilead is mentioned, but each time the precious salve stands as a beautiful metaphor for the healing work of Christ. The forgiveness that He provides is both rare and powerful, yet open to all who come near. The sweetness of His love, and the gentleness of His hands, make the healing process attainable for even the most afflicted among us.
A famous African American spiritual reflects on this in a powerful way:
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin sick soul!
Of course, the metaphor of the Balm of Gilead should remind us of one more powerful truth: the necessity of spreading the Gospel. How does the healing power of Christ enter others without the hands and feet of the Church, or the loving actions of His servants? Friends, let us rejoice today in the divine healing of Christ, and seek to deliver His precious ointment to all those who suffer here on Earth.
How could the Balm of Gilead heal your soul today? How could you use the Balm of Gilead, and the Word of God, to heal those who may be hurting near you? Christ came as the ultimate healing salve, and the one true form of healing that reunites our sinful selves with the glorious, righteous domain of God. Are you ready to spread Christ’s divine healing to others today?
1 Peter 2:24 (Berean Study Bible)
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Psalms 103:2-4 (New International Version)
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,