She couldn’t remember the last time she felt healthy or energetic. That’s how long it had been. For the past 12 years, she went to the newest doctor or medical procedure that was recommended. She put up with all manner of painful treatments in the hope that this bleeding would stop. But it didn’t. It might pause for a short time, but then it would start up again.
She and her husband had money once. But most of it was spent on medical treatments. Between the pain of the treatments and the washed out feeling from all the bleeding, her enthusiasm for life vanished long ago. As someone who was considered to be unclean ceremonially, she was unable to navigate much in society. She lost many of her friends. It had been years since she was touched, much less hugged or embraced. She suffered from a deep sense of loneliness.
Then she heard about Jesus…
Then she heard about a man who was new in town. His name was Jesus. He was healing people. He also had a message that was upsetting the religious leaders. She didn’t want to be public about her situation. But maybe, if she could get close enough to Him, she would be able to touch His clothing and it would heal her. Maybe. She was at the end of the road. There were no other options left for her.
She got up early one morning and joined the crowd that was waiting for Jesus. The crowd was huge! It was way larger that the small road in their town could manage. People were everywhere. They were all trying to get close to Jesus as he seemed to be hurrying to get somewhere. In the press of the crowd, it seemed that this woman was making progress as she got closer and closer to Jesus. At this point, her plan of action was to get as close as possible and touch Jesus clothing, hoping she would be healed.
Here is the story as told in Luke. It is also found more briefly in Mark 5:24-34 ESV
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years,
and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.
And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?”
When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him
declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Luke 8:42-48 ESV
No, it was not a literal embrace, but His words couldn’t have been kinder. He called her “daughter.” Although she was probably older than He, she felt the kindness and total lack of sexual innuendo coming from this man.
She knew how little faith she truly had. Yet He told her that her faith made her well. It was the kind of faith of someone who has nowhere else to turn. Where else could she go? He was her only hope. But it was in Him and because of it, she was healed. *It was also probably an indication that her healing was more than simply physical, but spiritual as well.
*And His final words “go in peace” add to the idea that her healing was a spiritual healing and she has received salvation for her sin. She now has peace with GOD. What a gift! Her healing was much more comprehensive that her physical healing for sure! It was the embrace of one saying, “Welcome to the family of GOD.”
We don’t hear more about this woman, but there is no doubt that her life changed!
This is all we read about this woman in the Bible. But there is no doubt that her life changed. After 12 years of dealing with a miserable illness, only to have it healed? Of course her life was dramatically changed. No longer was she an outcast because of her disease. My guess is that she made sure she knew who Jesus was and made sure she understood His message. His healing of her body and soul felt like an embrace at a time in her life when she had very few people around her willing to embrace her…either emotionally or physically.
Tomorrow we will be talking more about what we can learn from this woman and her approach to change.
*found in ESV Study Bible notes.