The bleeding had begun without warning. She went to a doctor, expecting a quick healing. The treatment didn’t work. She tried again. At first, her treatments were respectable, as were her physicians. But nothing worked. She visited less-reputable doctors. She still bled. Desperate, she threw her money into any promise of healing. Now her money and her hope was gone.
Twelve years of bleeding, twelve years of space. At first the space was small; people moved a step away when they saw her. But the space grew. Doctors turned her away. Friends avoided her. People pulled away, her bleeding a canyon no one was willing to cross. Her money dwindled until she had to beg at the city gate. No friends, no family, perpetually unclean, she lived in a wide-open, desolate place. After twelve years, all she had left was space, and space was the only thing she didn’t want.
Then one day, word arrived at the gate where she begged that Jesus, the miracle-worker, was coming to town. She’d heard that Jairus, the synagogue ruler, had gone to beg for Jesus to come; they said his daughter was very sick, perhaps dying.
“I know all about sick,” she thought. She looked down at her feeble body. The bleeding and the treatments had taken their toll. She, too, was dying, but she would die alone in her emptiness, the space around her a prison.
In the distance, she could see a cloud of dust; a large group of people was coming toward the city. It was Jesus. Unbidden, hope stirred in her heart. She pushed it back down. Her bleeding cut her off from the people around her. She couldn’t get to Jesus; besides, he was on an errand for Jairus. If he stopped for her; the little girl might die.
But suddenly, she had an idea. What if she didn’t stop him? What if she just got close enough to touch him? She watched the approaching crowd and thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”
She pulled herself to her feet and waited. When the crowd arrived, she recognized Jairus leading, walking beside a stranger. “That must be Jesus,” she thought and edged her way toward the crowd. She had a hard time keeping up with their hurried pace, but she worked her way in. As usual, people recoiled at the sight of her, but for once, the space they left helped her, made it easier for her to get to Jesus.
Moving carefully, she stepped between the last people separating her from him. But suddenly, the crowd surged, pressing against Jesus. Someone bumped her, nearly knocking her over. The jarring hurt, but she tried again, pushing between two elbows, and found herself staring at Jesus’ back.
With a deep breath, she reached out and brushed the edge of his cloak. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. She felt her body change, and she stopped too, thought the crowd around her continued its pursuit of Jesus. But then, they, too, came to a halt. Hurriedly, she tried to escape, but the crowd closed in. She heard a man behind her.
“Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
“Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”
She knew the voice was his, and she slowly turned around. She stepped forward and dropped to her knees, trembling. She heard the familiar gasps and saw Jairus raise his eyebrow and glance up the street toward his home. But Jesus had a different look in his eyes.
She didn’t know what to say, so she told him her story, a story of doctors, of treatments, of poverty, of a broken body and broken relationships. She told him of her emptiness and the space that she’d endured. And she told him of her plan, and how, when she had touched him, she had been instantly healed.
Then she hung her head in the silence and waited. But he did not scold her. When he spoke, his voice was kind and strong. “Daughter.” The word rang out as he reached across her canyon of emptiness. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” And she did.
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