Somewhere in time they had forgotten her name. But it did not matter. She’d been called 'Afflicted' like the others, but then it became difficult to tell them apart. Sooner or later, if you were afflicted long enough, you got a proper label. The Blind Man. The Deaf Boy. The Bleeding Woman. Even the children called her that.
She sighed, wearily stirring the vegetable broth the doctor said would help her body make more blood cells. It was bitter but it helped. Losing blood day after day had left her tired, always tired.
Outside, there was a stirring. They spoke of this One Who could heal. Oh! The miracles He had done! From her window she watched as workmen closed their stores and women rounded up their children. Everyone wanted to see this Man.
‘Can He heal me?’ she asked herself aloud.
“He even cured a man of demons!” said one.
“He speaks with such authority!” said another.
‘Could this be the day?’ she thought.
Who would she ask to help her? Which way would she go to find Him? Won’t people snicker if she came out? Could she make it all the way?
“It’s a long walk to where we are to meet him.” She heard someone mutter.
She clutched her heart. She must meet Him.
Fighting the doubts that flooded her mind, she dressed as quickly as she could. Slipping a veil over her head, she hurried after the disappearing crowd.
“Wait for me!” she wanted to shout.
But no one would want to be near her.After all, she was cursed.
The crowd was boisterous. They pushed, they pulled. She slipped and fell. She got up as quickly as she could,dragged on by the mob. She could see Him. The Master. She looked on with hope as a man got close enough to talk to him. Perhaps he needed healing too. But The Master did not touch him. He got up and followed him.
'No! Was He leaving?'
Someone stomped on her foot. She wanted to scream in pain but was afraid someone might recognize her voice. She pushed through the splayed hands and tangled robes. Nothing was going to stop her.
Many turned to go.
“I got to see Him!” Some chattered excitedly. “Did you?”
Breathless and parched, she swallowed; her eyes burning with hot tears.
'I don’t just want to see Him,' she thought to herself. 'I want Him to see me. I want to touch Him.'
Far ahead she could see His disciples keeping the crowd from thronging Him.
‘If only I can touch Him, just His garment, just the hem.’
Taking a deep breath, her heart surged again. She would touch Him.
With one hand she held her veil in place, with the other she cut through the crowd. She fell, crawled, closed her eyes and pressed.
Then she recognized Peter’s voice. I must be close, she thought. Groping, ignoring the legs that kicked at her, she wiped dust and sweat from her face.
Rising and panting, she smiled as she got close. She could see Him. As she fell again, she reached out, her heart racing. Her eyes were closed but she could see so clearly. She touched something and hit the ground.
Bruised and dirty, she raised her arms to shield herself from being stomped on, but nothing happened. The crowd had stopped.
Slowly opening her eyes, she heard Him. He wanted to know who had touched Him.
Her veil! It was gone. People gasped.
“The Bleeding Woman!” she heard some say.
He was looking at her. He knew. Afraid, she fell before Him. He called her ‘Daughter’. He gave a name to her touch. He called it ‘Faith’ and told her she had been saved.
That was her story. She had seen, heard and touched Him.
For weeks people came to see her, to find out if it was true. They wanted to hear her story. See the bruises from her falls. Know what it felt like.
Today, as she rose to tell her story yet again, she wondered how many would have been saved if they had reached out. So many of them had been there, content just to see Him. Maybe, just maybe, her story would have been theirs too. Looking into their eyes, she saw their longing, and hoped her story would help them know the Power available to heal them if they reached out....if only they reached out in....
What did He call it?
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