כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֗ה רִפִּ֨אתִי֙ לַמַּ֣יִם הָאֵ֔לֶּה
“… Thus says YHWH, ‘I have healed these waters’. …” (2 Kings 2.21) This little snippet is so rich. The city, Jericho, was “well-situated” but the water brought death and the land would not produce food. Do you know the back story? Joshua had cursed the place. After the walls of Jericho collapsed and the city was destroyed, Joshua cursed it. If any would rebuild the city, it would cost him his firstborn and his youngest son (Joshua 6.26). Later, this is exactly what happened (see 1 Kings 16.34). Apparently, this curse also affected the land itself with its springs.
(Note: Many bibles translate this verse as “I have purified the water,” which was also certainly the case. But the verb used is R-F-‘, which is the primary word in hebrew for the healing of something sick.)
So we see clearly that curses have power. But curses do not have the last word. Blessings have more power than curses. This particular curse had been effective for generations – perhaps 500–600 years or so from the time of the curse to the time of the city’s rebuilding, and then another generation until this story begins. But now someone had a hope for something different. So folks from the city sought out God by seeking out his prophet Elisha. And the curse on land and water was broken. “Until this day,” the writer testifies, “that water remains pure,” it “remains healed” (2 Kings 2.22). That was true when 1 & 2 Kings was written. But now, thousands of years (thousands!) after the healing of the water, even today the water in that corner of Israel is good. Read 2 Kings 2.19–22 for the whole story.
Blessings have more power than curses. God is the Healer who holds healing and purification in his hands. There are many curses – spoken curses, curses through witchcraft, ancestral curses, spiritual strongholds of bondage, addictions, corruption of all sorts, deliberate partnerships with sin, curses received along with abuse. Those curses have not been without their hurtful impact. But blessings have more power than curses. Curses can be broken and nullified, replaced with blessing and healing.
Blessings have more power.