"24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.27 when she heard about Jesus; she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 but the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:24-34
Every woman can relate with this woman’s story but to what extent? It’s one thing for her to bleed for the usual five to seven days; it’s another thing entirely to bleed for seven whole years, equivalent of 4384 days. How fast could the red blood cells multiply to replace the lost ones? How much white blood cells would be left in the body to defend it from disease? How strong could her immunity have been after such loss of blood? How physically strong could she have been? How much money could she have left if she had being treated for the same illness over and over again, getting second opinions, perhaps being used as a guinea pig for the latest drug, being poked and prodded in various delicate places by physicians who were puzzled by her ailment yet unwilling to admit it.
The bible says this woman suffered many things in the hands of physicians. They promised her healing falsely yet continued to milk her dry. What could her life have been like?
Lev 15:19-31, paints a good picture of menstruating women and how they were seen and to be treated.
According to the Leviticus law, women were considered unclean during menstruation and were to remain separated from everyone. Everyone had to stay away from such women during this period and she would wait in isolation until the cessation of menstruation after which she would bring two turtles or two young pigeons to the priest who would offer both a sin offering and a burnt offering. Then she would be welcomed back to the camp, back to civilization, so to speak.
Can you imagine how this erodes the discreetness we modern women so craves at such a time. Each time a woman goes into the separation camp, everyone goes ‘Oh oh, she’s got a bloody issue’, lol.
Well this law was still very much in effect during Jesus’ time and so this woman must have lived in isolation twelve long years. That must have been painful. She was isolated from everyone she loved and knew. She was denied physical touch or even intimacy. She couldn’t interact in anyway, share a joke or two, laugh and eat with people. Her body was riddled with this debilitating disease and basically she was as good as dead. In fact, she smelt like death as she probably never had the strength to wash her ‘separation clothes’, so she probably just laid in it day and night, fresh and crusted blood all mixed together. No luxury of ‘Always’ I’m afraid. J.
Then her finances dwindled fast. One thing is apparent, either she was a woman of means or she had family with some wealth because it seems she’d seen the best physicians over and over again. Her finances either dwindled or the family could no longer support her. They decided to leave her for dead after all she’d not been seen anywhere for twelve years anyway. But she never gave up. She never lost hope of being one day free from her infirmity. Even after twelve years she still had hope.
Now imagine this scenario; she sat at her window to listen to people talking. That was the only way she was informed of current events, in fact it was the only time she felt connected with people. And these people talked about a man called Jesus. They said He healed the sick, raised the dead and performed the most awesome miracle and He was passing by the road by her house that day. The moment the testimony of Jesus’ deeds entered her ears, like the parable of the sower, the testimony lands on very fertile soil, the soil in the heart of a very desperate woman. This Jesus she had to see. In the past she’d never been able to make it beyond the door, being weak and all but strength from nowhere rose in her. She quickly changed into the only clean clothes she had left to hide her condition and blend in with everyone else.
Her heart pounded. She knew she had to make a move but the law forbade women from touching a rabbi/priest, least of all an unclean one. If the men knew she was unclean perhaps she would be stoned to death. But then she was dying anyway. She knew in the depths of her heart that if she could just touch him, just that one touch would make all the difference. Buoyed by her strengthening faith, she leaped with all her strength into the crowd and tried to gain up but Jesus walked too quickly and only his garment flowed behind Him. She strained as hard as she could as she stretched and caught hold of his helm of his garment.
Boom! A powerful force zipped through her and in that moment, the bible says ‘the fountain of her blood was dried up’. She knew in that instant that life had come back and she was made whole.
Interestingly, many people touched Jesus that day; in fact many rubbed shoulders with Him, probably stepped on His toes but only this woman made a real, concrete connection. She was the only one who did not see Jesus’ presence as mundane; she saw beyond a mere man, she saw with the eyes of faith. Her act of faith was so phenomenal she drew heaven’s attention and stopped Jesus in His tracks. This woman was a show-stopper through her courage, tenacity and persistent faith. Jesus was in a hurry to go and heal Jairus’ daughter but the woman with the issue of blood stopped Him for a moment and claimed her deliverance.
And when Jesus asked the question: “WHO TOUCHED ME?” He knew virtue had been released from Him. He wasn’t enquiring to punish the woman, He wanted to know and commend the person who took that step of faith. He respected her actions and told her “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
And here’s one admirable thing she did. When Jesus wanted to know who touched him, she owned up to her deeds even though she was trembling. She didn’t run away or try to pretend, she come forward and volunteered the information and that honesty sealed the deal. Halleluyah!