with typical pondering and rambling.... This is a story you could have fun acting out or doing with puppets. Let the kids make the puppets and do the show.
You could also use dolls and water and play the story.
You can do some research before you start about the disease, the two armies and why they were fighting. . .
When you tell Bible stories about war and soldiers remember kids from families in the armed services may connect to these stories in ways that other kids don't.
What is leprosy? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Remember concrete and sensory with children. In Israel lepers were outcast. They had no friends? The only people they could be friends with were sick like them? Do you know kids in situations like that?
I find it interesting that the Samaritans were considered lesser Jews or out of the mainstream when Jesus walked but this prophet, Elisha, was in Samaria and Naaman was healed there.
Naaman is the commander of a major army. But he has a horrible disease that has no cure. Imagine taking orders from someone with leprosy - someone who is ugly with disease. He is a soldier. A valiant soldier! A well-respected, honored man with a disease. And it says, the Lord had given victory through him.
Somehow being captured by a "band" of soldiers sounds more like thievery than war. In a sense, the little girl is kidnapped but she ends up in the home of a commander. Given the value (or lack of value) of children, particularly the children of enemies, was that typical? It seems God took especially good care of her.
This little girl knows her master is sick. She has access to her mistress. She knows who the prophet of her own people is. She knows that he makes people better. She could stay silent and withdrawn but she shares this information with her mistress. She is compassionate. She is brave. Her mistress listens to her!! If your kids were put into a situation like this, would they speak up? Would they know or volunteer someone who heals impossible situations?
I imagine the next thing she is aware of is the return of her master and the stories he tells. He comes home healed! Something amazing happens to him. Is she surprised? We don't know. Maybe he tells the story of what happened. He got angry but he did what the crazy man said. He took lots of treasure to pay the man but all it cost him was his pride.
And now he would worship the God of Israel! Did this simple act of faith and unusual chain of events unlock a door for the child to worship the God of her fathers with her foreign master's family instead of being forced to worship a foreign god?
And what's with the dirt?
If you work with grown-ups, teens or pre-teens consider looking at the story from the perspective of the different people in the story. What would they know first hand and what would they not know? What would they see and hear? You can look at it from the child's perspective, the wife's, Naaman's, one of the men who went with Namaan, Elijah's.
Visit a polluted body of water and imagine washing there and watching all of the sores or discoloration on your body miraculously disappear. Today we think about pollution causing sores and disease. God worked a miracle for an enemy of His people and used a little girl forced to serve them to do it.
Activities: Take a 1/2 sheet of white paper and a piece of blue cellophane* or blue paper the same size. Tape the blue sheet over the paper, taping just the sides. Leave the top and bottom open. Create a template of Naaman (front and back) to color, cut, and glue together so it can sit on a craft stick- a two-sided stick puppet of Naaman. Don't attach it so it's easy to slide the figure on and off the stick. Make two puppets - two Naamans- one is sick, one is not. Hide the healed Naaman in the blue cellophane envelope. Sick Naaman goes into the water behind the blue cellophane. (Slip the stick out of one puppet and into the other one.) Healed Naaman comes out.
With younger kids the cellophane will tear easily. You could also do it with two sculpy Naamans or two laminated Naamans in a tub of water.
The usual focus of the story is Naaman. But what about the little girl's story? Can you divide your class into small groups of 4-5 and let them pretend. The soldiers take the little girl. She goes to a strange house. She sees that her master is sick and tells her mistress about the prophet. Naaman goes off to Elijah. He comes home and tells them the story.
Do you want a take home craft project or something to do that will allow your kids to jump into a story about a child and her faith in God? Consider taking photos or video of the non-paper/pencil activities that you do. If your families have computers save the pictures on CD and send copies home with your children at the end of the year. If it's not in your budget maybe each child can bring in a blank CD.
*blue cellophane is fairly brittle. It's a pain in the neck to work with. Pre-cut the pieces and place them in a manila folder under something heavy to keep the pieces flat until you need them. Using sharp scissors or a rotary cutter helps. It tears easily. Cut extras.