Hello My Name Is…. (Week 9) – Shunamite Woman
Happy Sunday Mummy Meditators!!
I hope and pray that you’ve had a good week. How is this season of motherhood treating you?? Are you happy to be back into routine, or are you mum to a newborn where things don’t really change from day to day?
How would you react if something happened to your only child? Well that’s what the Shunamite Woman is reacting to in the story we’ve been looking at for the last few weeks, and this week is no exception. We were pondering the following verse together:
“When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.” “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” 2 Kings 4:27-28
Going on autopilot
In the verses between last week’s verse and this week’s one, the Shunamite Woman goes on her journey to speak to Elisha (the man of God). She lies again to Gehazi, saying everything is all right (even when he asks her outright how the child is!), knowing that he’ll try to stop her from getting to Elisha. Thinking about the order of these events and the way she goes about things makes me feel like she is on autopilot – the way you deal with things because your body kind of kicks in and does it, rather that you really being in control. Like when your child hurts themselves at the park and you automatically run over and know what to do to fix it. Or that way you run if you see your child about to fall down the stairs. I’m not 100% sure this woman is processing everything, instead she is on autopilot, following through the plan to make everything right again. Have you ever experienced that? When you come out the other side its a very odd feeling, when you realise how you coped and dealt with it all without really thinking.
Willing to do what is needed
We’ve already witnessed that this mum is happy to hide the truth for the sake of bringing her son back to life. This week, she lies outright and then falls at Elisha’s feet. What is the significance of this one little detail from this week’s verse? I’ve been thinking about that all week. We know that it was feet that were washed most often because they were the part of the body that got dusty and dirty from walking and daily life. So they wouldn’t have been the nicest part of someone’s body to be close to. It was seen as a mark of reverence to fall at someones feet, to show them you know they are more important than you, that you are willing to put yourself below the dirtiest part of them. She already respected and revered Elisha, knowing he was connected to God in some way, so this act is perhaps towards both Elisha and God – showing that she reveres them and needs their help.
I first subtitled this section as “willing to do anything”, but I don’t think that’s right – I think this woman is willing to lie and fall at people’s feet, but only the right feet, the ones that belong to Elisha, the ones that God is working through. Let us remember that we should be willing to do what is needed to see through God’s plans in our lives.
Fierce like only a mother can be
This woman didn’t JUST fall at Elisha’s feet. No, the image is very graphic here that she “took hold of” his feet, and doesn’t look like shes going to let go until she gets the answer she wants!! Her replies to Elisha are also feisty and full of meaning – she is essentially saying “you got me into this mess, you are going to get me out!”. In a world where her husband sent the sick son back to her and didn’t even ask how he was, this mother is fighting for her child, probably harder than she has fought for anything before. Because that’s what mums do. We have this thing inside us, maybe its the connection from those 9 months that those babies grew inside us, that they become part of us that we HAVE to protect. Them being in danger brings out something primal in us, and here the Shunamite Woman is channelling that fierceness to make sure she gets the answer she needs.
Unnamed but included
I am so happy that this woman has been included in the bible. Her story of motherhood is very inspiring, showing us that its OK to fight for and protect our children, that we should know where to turn to when things go wrong (God!) and that hospitality can lead to relationships that might benefit us in the future. Her extravagant hospitality meant that she actually had a relationship with Elisha so that Gehazi let her past to see him when she was in distress. If she hadn’t had that, then she wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near, and her son would probably have remained dead. You never know what hospitality will lead to, so pursue it whenever you can.
It’s our last week in this part of the “Hello My Name Is” series and looking at the Shunamite Woman. We will then have a week’s break before the last ten week series which will take us up to Christmas! I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at some more unnamed women in the bible. For our last week, we will be meditating on this verse, the finale of the story….
“Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.” 2 Kings 4:36-37
Join Philippa, our amazing Mummy Meditations Champion, for the last Facebook live discussion of the series at 9pm tomorrow night over in the Facebook Group, and share your thoughts of the whole story.
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