There Is a Balm in Gilead

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Gilead. It was a mountain region east of the Jordan River and a source of spices and herbs that were considered valuable because of their healing powers. For example, the Ishmaelites who carried Joseph into Egypt were taking “aromatic gum and balm and myrrh” which likely came from Gilead (Genesis 37:25).

When God warned of coming judgment, Jeremiah referred to Gilead. His people needed to be healed, and he hurt deeply for the pain they experienced. He mourned because there did not seem to be any physicians or balm that could help heal their wounds or comfort them during this time of suffering.

Many slaves in 19th century America identified with these circumstances and the burdens Jeremiah carried. But, instead of mourning, they proclaimed an answer they’d found for the problems they faced. The words have come down to us in a spiritual that is still sung today: “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

Even though they faced horrible conditions, these slaves learned to depend on God. They could sing, “Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work’s in vain, but then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.”

They knew that people might abuse them, but Jesus would be faithful: “If you can’t preach like Peter, if you can’t pray like Paul, just tell the love of Jesus, and say He died for all.”

The message still is true for people of all backgrounds. It’s true for you! No matter what you need, cry out to God. He can comfort you, heal you, and help you. Let Him revive your soul and fill you with His peace, hope, and joy.