Mark Hayes' reflective setting of this classic early 19th century African American spiritual is perfect for offering during times of discouragement or as a reminder of God's faithfulness. The text draws on the image of Gilead, which in biblical times was a source of spices and medicinal ointments. "Balm" becomes a metaphor for redemption in Christ. Hayes' soothing harmonies paint the text beautifully. The choral writing is thoughtful and moving. As is always the case in Hayes' music, the piano part is rich and masterfully crafted. This beloved hymn reminds us of the task of every Christian -- to be a witness to Christ's healing love.