Lewis and Clark Interpretive CenterSick? Try bleeding. If that doesn’t work, purging might do the trick.

Those two primary fix-alls of “medicine” were tried on Sergeant Charles Floyd back in 1804 when he became ill while exploring the newly purchased Louisiana Territory. Unfortunately, neither is a cure for acute appendicitis, so Floyd died, the only member of Lewis and Clark’s expedition team to do so.

Medicine now, like medicine then, is still a precarious experiment. While we have some sicknesses supposedly figured out, it’s easy to place too much trust in modern elixirs to cure what ails us. Like Naaman, we want an easy fix, at best a simple dip in clean water instead of 7 dips in a muddy Jordan.

But often what ails us the most goes undetected. It’s only a trip to the Great Physician that can give us not only insight into the disease, but the cure to last an eternity. And the only bleeding required was His own.


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