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There is a balm in Gilead

To make the wounded whole.

There is a balm in Gilead

To heal the sin-sick soul.

.

Sometimes I feel discouraged

And think my work’s in vain

And then the Holy Spirit

Revives my soul agian.

.

Don’t ever feel discouraged

For Jesus is your friend,

And if you lack the knowledge,

He’ll ne’er refuse to lend.

.

If you cannot preach like Peter,

If you cannot pray like Paul,

You can tell the love of Jesus

And say, “He died for all.”

.

Negro Spiritual

This is a well-known negro spiritual, which has an interesting meaning.

The “balm in Gilead” is quoted in the Old Testament, but the lyrics of this spiritual refer to the New Testament (Jesus, Holy Spirit, Peter, and Paul). This difference is interesting to comment. In the Old Testament, the balm of Gilead cannot heal sinners. In the New Testament, Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.

So, in the book of Jeremiah, several verses speak about Gilead. In chapter 22, v. 6 and 13: The Lord says (about the palace of the king of Judea) “Though you are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon, I will surely make you like a desert, like towns inhabited… Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labour”.

In the same book of Jeremiah, chapter 46, v. 2 and 11, “This is the message (of the Lord) against the army of Pharaoh Neco … Go up to Gilead and get balm, O Virgin Daughter of Egypt, but you multiply remedies in vain; here is no healing for you”.

In the New Testament, the four Gospels say that Jesus healed many people whatever their conditions: he can heal the poor. A Christian who feels the Spirit must share its faith and “preach”, like Peter and Paul.

from http://www.negrospirituals.com/song.htm

August 2006
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