Twelve years. Three hundred and sixty five days a dozen times over, she bled. Doctors couldn’t help her—the only thing they could dry up was her money. Year after year, she tried desperately to be well, only to flip upside down and deteriorate. Get worse. Wear her hope and health to the bone. This woman suffered sick, bleeding in a world that prized perfection.
What she suffered more were the people. Stares searing, distain dripping from their sneers, whispers loud and cruel: “She is unclean. She is not holy.” Crowds parted on the dusty streets of straight-laced Capernaum; the Jews could not be in contact with this one deemed unworthy.
And so the shame sliced her soul. Cast out, rebuked, a leper of her own kind. A dozen years she breathed in solitude, loneliness mingling with the blood that kept reminding her she wasn’t whole.
One day, the city filled to a frenzy. A large crowd gathered and voices of curiosity and wonder bounced from ear to ear. Jesus of Nazareth, here today! On His way to the home of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. An important visit, to heal his daughter.
At the mention of this Man’s name, her heart snapped to attention. It began to beat a pulse of possibility. Jesus of Nazareth. So long had she heard His name, and of the wonders He performed. Could He bring forth another miracle in this town?
She pushed against the people who would recoil at her touch if they knew it was she; no one seemed to notice amidst the noise and bustle. The closer she came, the more she trembled. He was hope to her—if she could only touch His cloak…
Just before her did He stand, moving through the throng, set apart. Her desperation surged her forward. Fingers finding the fabric. Her body charged to life, and in the deep recesses of her soul, she knew the blood had stopped flowing. She was redeemed.
But at this interaction Jesus paused. His eyes scanned the sea of people. “Who touched My clothes?” He asked. This was a big attendance—surely people brushed by Him all the time.
His eyes still roamed the crowd. The woman shrunk back. Power had been discharged; this One knew a soul had sought Him in her hurt.
People will know it was me, the bleeding woman, she thought, hesitant to display her disability and shame in front of everyone, especially the great Jesus. Once cast from society’s favor, a heart doesn’t quite forget its place. She had stopped His party and they had more important places to be.
But the Man would not move, and in a sudden fit of panic, she thrust herself at His feet.
“I touched You,” she confessed. “I’ve bled for twelve years and knew if I could just touch Your robe, I would be well. Have mercy on me, my Lord!”
The crowd went ghastly silent. Her words reverberated around the air. Her eyes glued to His sandals, hope and fear so hot within her heart.
And Jesus bent to bring her up, standing before all. His eyes dove right into her and from their light, she saw kindness for the first time in half a lifetime. An eternity of never enough shattered in an instant. “Daughter,” He smiled, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
His declaration broke the bonds of her bleeding, of her cast-out countenance and gave her soul such a peace her heart could lift her up and she’d fly home above the crowd who had ignored her just minutes before. The Messiah saw her. He did not walk away. And He gave her the grace she’s lacked and desperately craved. Now the only thing that bled was her heart for Him. She was seen. She was healed. She was set free.
Her world would never be the same.