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Terry Jo Cotter
Dec 8, 1999


A Word through Terry Jo Cotter

The word forwarded by: Bob Sperlazzo Monday, December 06, 1999 Bob's email:

No one has all the truth. We all have blind spots, but then, we each have areas where we see various levels of truth, as well. That's why we need each other to get a full picture.

Here's another source of truths that I have found inspiring and deeper than the ordinary, yet simple and unaffected. The message below is a particularly timeless word that has "now" significance.

Many blessings, Bob Sperlazzo

From: Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999

Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

WHEN GOD SPEAKS---THE BALM OF GILEAD A Word through Terry Jo Cotter

There is a Balm of Gilead. It has the power to save us from certain death. It can bring hope to the hopeless and healing to that which is incurable. You can even read about it in the encyclopedia, where it is described as a honey-like "aromatic resin with medicinal qualities."

So where is this balm, this honey, this healing medicine? For 14 years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I have searched for it, seemingly in vain. My heart echoed the cry of Jeremiah 8:21 & 22 as recorded in The Living Bible: I weep for the hurt of my people; I stand amazed, silent, dumb with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why doesn't God do something? Why doesn't He help?

After all these years of searching, I think I finally know the answer.

Genesis 37:25 is the first time the Bible mentions this Balm from Gilead. Joseph, the beloved son of Israel, had been attacked by his brothers and thrown into a well. And they (Joseph's brothers) sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites (descendants of Hagar, Abraham and Sarah's maid; name means "God will hear") came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm (salve, medicine) and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.


Unbelievably, Joseph's brothers went about their business as usual, even with murderous thoughts in their hearts. Ignored by his brothers, God heard Joseph's cries for help. He sent a band of outsiders (how sad that this is often the case) to rescue Joseph from certain death. [For as the Balm passed by, Judah declared to his brothers that it would be better to sell Joseph into slavery than to kill him. Verses 26 & 27.] Thus, the first application of the Balm of Gilead.


The Lord Jesus IS the Balm of Gilead. It was He who passed (whether seen or unseen) with that company that redeemed Joseph from death. But there is more to the meaning of this Balm of Gilead. We already know that Jesus IS the Great Physician, and in Him there is healing for all needs. So then why have so many not recovered? Why do we read in Jeremiah 46:11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured. The Living Bible reads, though you have used many medicines, there is no healing for you.

Here is the reason why there have been no healing medicines. Here is why our bruise has remained incurable: What was the most precious and powerful of the medicines that the Ishmaelites brought to Egypt? What was that Balm of Gilead that was of such great value?

It was Joseph, Beloved. Joseph [a representative type of the Christ] was the Balm of Gilead. He was the one the Lord would use to save not only the people of Egypt and the surrounding nations, but the very nation of Israel itself. Joseph would later testify to his brothers, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).


To be the man God could use to save much people alive, Joseph, like the perfumed extract taken from the Gilead tree, would be crushed, squeezed, refined, purified, even pulverized - not by a feelingless, indifferent God. By a God who is wise enough to know that the perfumed ointment cannot flow until the alabaster box is broken.

The illustration the Lord showed me was - and you're not going to believe this - Pesto Sauce! You make Pesto by putting fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts and Parmesan cheese into the food processor and with a sharp, jagged, metal blade, pulverize the ingredients until they are a well-formed paste. The results are exquisite. You could take those very same ingredients - the basil, garlic and all the rest - and mix them with pasta, but it wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't even be worth eating. All the crushing, breaking, releasing, joining and forming are needed to bring out the full flavor, the full value.

So it is with us.


Beloved, you and I are called to be the Balm of Gilead, to each other; to those who follow after us; to the hurting nations; to those inside the Church and out. But to be of any use, to truly be a balm that can bring healing, we must be taken from one form to another. We must be made into a sweet perfume, a honey-like medicine that can flow out to others.

It is through our suffering, Beloved, that this is accomplished. It is because of what we have endured that we can say, "Come, drink of the healing medicines that now flow from my broken places. Come eat of my experiences and find your healing." Through our struggles and our suffering, we are becoming a Balm of Gilead, just as Joseph before us.


Are you wondering why you are not yet healed? Why there seem to be no healing medicines for your situation? Could it be that you too are now being formed into a sweet-smelling salve that will bring healing to many? Could it be that your alabaster box is being broken, so the sweet perfume of healing can one day flow out to others?

Beloved, God has so many people in need, and so few through whom He can bring forth that healing. Why? Because being crushed, squeezed, refined, purified, and even pulverized is not something we embrace. We look for ways out of our tests. We search for means of escape. But what would have happened if Joseph had found escape from his prison? What if he had not been there "to save many people alive?"


The Lord Jesus could have made a way of escape for Himself from the Cross. He told us there were legions of angels ready to come to His aid. But He did not choose escape. He suffered willingly, that you and I might be spared.

This is the Balm of Gilead - the willingness to allow ourselves to be poured out for the good of others.

What will you do, Beloved? Will you be a Balm of Gilead the Lord can use, even if it means being carried off to a faraway land? Will you allow yourself to be forged in a prison - whatever your prison is - for a greater good than you cannot yet see?

If there is no healing balm in Gilead, as Jeremiah 8:22 suggests, it is only because so few have been willing to answer the call.

Jo Cotter or

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