The Woman with Issues (Mark 5:25-34)
There she stood in the crowd of people, one so insignificant and so physically and emotionally fragile. She heard the Man speaking words to the people. They were words like she had never heard before. Words that birthed hope, expectation, longing, hunger.
And fear. Fear of hope deterred, expectation lost, longing misrepresented and hunger unsatisfied. Was He just like all the other leaders who claimed God was their Father?
He was young. He didn't dress or carry himself like all the other men who strolled about in long robes with high heads, with their noses touching the sky. He was different. Yet, so many had seemed different at first.
She had met all kinds in the twelve years of her affliction. They were men who had made lofty promises and showed some type of demonstration of their power. They too had birthed hope and expectation. But not like this Man.
She stood among the throng and latched on to His every kind word. She hoped no one would press against her infirm body too closely that they would smell the stench. It was a horrid smell, indicative of a horrid disease. Her body embraced a disease that had robbed her of energy, strength, vitality, friendships, even hope. She expected any day that she would be consumed by her sickness. She would simply pass out from having the life erased from her body. And then, would anybody recognize that her life had ceased to be? Would anybody care?
Her attention returned to this Man and His Words. One man who taught the people about God was now begging Him to come to his house to heal his daughter, who'd fallen ill. This One, so young and kind, consented to go.
When she saw and heard that He would go with the leader of the synagogue, she knew that her time was limited. If she was to have what she came to get, she would have to move now. She must move fast - as fast as she could with her drainage and amidst that heavy throng. The Healer would be leaving soon.
"It's no use," her mind whispered to her. "Besides, you've been to every doctor in town. They've given you every prescription imaginable, every herbal remedy, every holistic approach that mere men could offer and produce. One even implied that you were crazy and needed to be hospitalized in a treatment center for a while: no one has the symptoms you say you have and lives for very long, he reasoned. So why, just why, should now be different?"
Tears filled her eyes again as the question echoed in her mind. Why should now be different? Why should He be different?
But wait. Something was happening to the crowd. It was shifting. Like a tide that was bent on going inland, those around her pushed, pulled and shoved her down. She was beneath them. How befitting. Their dirty bare feet, some sandy and sandaled were in her face as she could only crawl. In no particular direction could she see where she was headed. Maybe this would be the day when life went out of her as she was trampled onto the ground.
Yet a small wave of hope swept through her body one more time. She found herself facing the bottom of a Man who had tassels on his robe. Somehow, she must get up from this position of defeat and disease. If only she could leverage herself. If she could grab hold on something. Or someone. . .
The tassels, she gasped. With one weak, trembling hand, she grabbed the threads of the beautiful design that played its way around the hem of the Man's robe. And when she did, it was as if lightning entered and exited her body. The lightning was hot and quick. It stopped the flow of her life from escaping out of her. Then it breathed life into her that she had never, ever known. The lightning drew a shudder from her shoulders and a yelp from her lips, and more tears from her eyes. What doctors couldn't do in twelve years for thousands of dollars, this Man did in a moment without even trying.
"Who touched me?"
The voice vibrated above her like the echoes of many waters. With it, she shrank and froze amidst the smelly feet.
"Who touched me?" He asked again.
Someone off to the side offered an explanation. "Master, all these people here, and you ask, who touched you?"
"I know someone touched me, for virtue has left me."
The crowd seemed to move away from her and push her ever so close to Him. As she knelt there, no more a leaking, smelly spectacle, a woman with tears that flowed as profusely as the had before. She was too full of joy to be afraid anymore. She looked up at his face and enjoyed the rain of his gentle gaze upon her.
"It was me", she confessed. "For twelve years I've gone to the doctors for my affliction and did everything I was told to do, but never got any relief. When I came today, I knew that if only I could touch You I would be healed. Just your touch. That's all I needed." She stopped speaking for a moment simply because her joy would not let her continue. There at His feet she began to worship, and before she realized it, He was kneeling before her. He took her face in His strong, gentle hands and commanded her eyes to look on Him.
"Don't be afraid," he told her, " only believe. Go in peace. Your faith has made you whole." And with his hands he lifted her to her feet.
In the midst of amazed stares and gasps, she worshipped Him. He went on His way, followed by an entourage. She went on her way followed by no one or nothing except critical stares and whispers.
The stares and whispers didn't matter anymore. They would never matter, ever again. She was whole!