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Germs by Flickr User Russ Seidel, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Germs by Flickr User Russ Seidel, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Are you afraid of germs? If so, are you just a little afraid, or are you afraid like Howie Mandel, John Travolta, and Monk? I used to love the way the character of Monk dealt with all the regular germs life deals out to us. He made it funny, but somehow, his craziness about it made me more aware of germs than I had been before. I think the acceptance of Mr. Monk might even have made it more acceptable for germophobic actors to do things they do like using a fist-bump instead of a handshake (Mandel) and wearing gloves in scenes where touching another’s skin is required (Travolta). Though much of germophobia is extreme, there are actually some biblical roots for wanting to keep yourself from all things unclean.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 14:54 through Leviticus 15:15, we move from the laws about leprosy to the laws about a person who has a discharge. The Scriptures state that even if the discharge is no longer flowing, any person who has a discharge is considered unclean. I’m guessing that even included a runny nose back then, and as I’ve said before, it’s because God knew about germs before we even had a clue they existed.

For those with a discharge, their unclean status affected their lives in many inconvenient ways. Not only were they considered unclean, but the clothes they put on were unclean, anything they sat on was unclean, and everything they touched was unclean. It was like a Midas touch of uncleanness. Beyond that, if someone touched them or their clothes, sat where they sat, or even carried their unclean belongings for them, they were unclean until the evening. Oh, and if an unclean person spat on you, there was no question that you would become unclean in the process. At least the uncleanness was not hopeless. Once a person’s discharge was cleared up, they could be declared clean again after a seven-day purification process and the sacrifices of sin and burnt offerings.

The image above may make germs look kind of attractive with its color and design, and I guess the germs we need to kill bad bacteria have their own kind of beauty, but germs–for the most part, are not pretty. And like “little sins” that can look fun and colorful on the outside, tiny germs can kill great creatures. If we were only as careful to wash our hands of every little sin the way we wash our hands of every little germ, we’d be far less apt to get caught up in something that can grow until it’s beyond our control. That first dip into temptation so often leads to that final deadly dose–be it deadly drugs, a drowning-in-alcohol liver, or the death of a marriage due to infidelity. Thankfully, God’s Spirit is the best antibacterial agent we know when it comes to the uncleanness of sin,

April 2, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. At least we won’t develop immunity to God’s “antibacterial” in our lives. At least not if we keep our hearts soft.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Voni | April 3, 2014 | Reply

    • That’s a good point, Voni. I hope I never get immune to any part of God’s moving in my life and always keep a soft heart. I hope that for you as well. Helping each other keep that mindset is the task we have for each other as friends and as followers of Christ. 🙂


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | April 3, 2014 | Reply

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