The small room was stark. Except for the window that allowed the beam of the rising sun to stream in, it would have felt like a dungeon. Miriam tossed on the wooden bed, mercifully covered with a plush covering she’d managed not to barter away. She reached over and dipped the ladle into the bucket of spring water that had been delivered three days earlier. Everyone in the village were dutiful pious, careful to follow the Law, so Prisca always left food and water outside the door.
“Rest; I need rest,” she thought.
Actually all she wanted was just to sleep, deeply and dreamlessly. The unbearable pain brought with it such heaviness, all her peace and joy was gone. The isolation and rejection was worse still. Once a seller of purple, she was now utterly desolate. All her money was spent and every possession of any value bartered away. Still nothing she tried cured her or even eased the pain. Not the folk medicine of the hoary heads or the remedies of the physicians.
“God of our fathers, is there any help for me?” She moaned, pleading not accusing.
Miriam garnered all her strength, rose up from the bed, clutched her stomach and crept bent-back to open the shutter of the window. As she did, she heard clamorous voices coming down the road. Judging by the amount of dust she saw, she knew it was a large crowd. And that could mean only one thing. Jesus was among them. Suddenly a resolve flooded her and hope pushed it’s way from beneath her despair.
She said within herself, “All I’ve got to do is touch just the edge of his garment and I know I’ll be whole.”
Ignoring the excruciating cramping, she dressed hurriedly, placing her peasant’s garb over her nightwear. She carefully covered her face, not because of tradition. No doubt someone in the crowd did business with her in the past and knew she now had an issue of blood, she figured. The shame of being recognized would have crushed her.
By the time she made her way out in public, the band of travelers was just beyond her doorway. They were grabbing and jostling one another trying to get closer to the one at the center, who indeed was the itinerant preacher from Galilee. She, too, tried to get close. When she couldn’t get through, she dropped to her knees and began to reach and stretch until she touched him. Strength came into her body and she was whole.
A hush fell over the crowd when he asked, “Who touched me?” She heard one of his disciples scold him saying, “Master, how can you ask that when there are so many people here?”
He responded, “Somebody touch me. I felt virtue leave me.” Even though she was scared, Miriam confessed that it was she. Jesus looked at her tenderly and said, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole.”
At first she back away slowly, in awe at what had happened. When she cleared the crowd, she began to run the temple to show herself to the priest. As she went Miriam cried out, “He called me daughter. You, there and you, you rejected me, but he called me daughter. He was on His way to the house of the ruler, Jairus, I’m told, but took time out for me.”
Some days later, grieving she stood at the foot of the cross at the Place of the Skull gazing on the disfigured form. She didn’t have to see his face to know who it was. She recognized the compassion in his words when he cried out, “Forgive them.” At that moment, she experienced again the healing love and grace she did the day he called her daughter.
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