Clean versus Well

There is a story of Jesus dealing with 10 lepers (leprosy is an infectious skin decease that eats away the flesh).  Keeping their distance, as was the practice of the day, they call out to Jesus for help.

Jesus tells them to go present themselves to the priest.  (It was also the practice that a leper who became better, needed to go to a priest for confirmation before re-entering society.)  The lepers comply; as they do, they are “cleansed” of their leprosy.

One man, seeing what happened, returns to Jesus, thanking him.

Jesus commends the man for doing so, but is surprised that only one person returned to give thanks.  Then the man was made “well.”  (Other translations say he was “healed,” restored,” or “made whole.”)

There seems to be a distinction between being “cleansed” and being made “well.”  One thought is that being cleansed meant that the leprosy was gone, but its ravages remained, whereas being made “well,” restored the flesh to its pre-leprous condition.  Another thought is that being made “well,” addressed the whole person, encompassing the psychological and emotional aspect of having been ostracized and devalued as a person.

Whatever the precise meaning, it is clear that the man who thanked Jesus — and didn’t take his generosity for granted — was given even more as a result.

[Luke 17:11-19]

By Peter DeHaan

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan shares his passion for life and faith through words. Peter DeHaan’s website ( contains information and links to his blogs, newsletter, and social media pages.

Peter DeHaan is the president of Peter DeHaan Publishing, Inc., ( the publisher and editor of Connections Magazine and AnswerStat, and editor of Article Weekly.