This nameless biblical woman had no hope. During twelve long years, she had taken every possible step to become well. Her bloody discharge made her ceremonially unclean, unable to enter the temple and worship her God. Her husband must have left her long ago because he couldn’t touch her without becoming unclean himself.
She had spent every cent she had. She had put her hope in numerous doctors. In fact, Mark 5:26 says, who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. Had doctors taken advantage of her? Had they offered hope when there was no hope? Had they promised a cure and taken her money, yet had no clue what to do?
Regardless of all her efforts, she was still an outcast. She must have felt distressed walking the street looking for any sign of hope.
We don’t know when she first heard of Jesus. Was there a rumor about what He was doing—healing people—or as she walked did she notice He was there? Hope must have filled her heart. Or did the renewed hope quickly drain out of her?
There is no hope. Why even try? Yet try I must. Jesus is my last hope.
She stealthily looked around her. When no one was watching, she reached out and touched the hem of His garment, possibly terrified of being called out for public humiliation. She risked making this godly man unclean. Yet her distress was so great, she had to try.
And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Mark 5:30-34
I hear concern in Jesus’ voice, not anger. Of course, he knows who touched him; he’s omniscient God. Yet he knows it will be healthy for her to express her distress and publicly acknowledge his provision.
The disciples on the other hand were most likely hassled and frustrated. Their attempts at crowd control were futile. They may have been distressed feeling responsible to protect their teacher. Now someone was not only interrupting their next appointment— slowing them down—someone had touched Him without their knowing. Were they placing Him in danger? Their assignment of being Jesus’s body guard was blemished.
After her touch, knowing she was well, she approached with “fear and trembling.” What will happen now? Will this holy man only dismiss me with cruel words or call for the priests to take me away because I polluted others? She feels prompted to tell Him the whole truth publicly, so great was her relief. I’m healed! I know it. I feel it! Oh Jesus, thank you. What she longed and prayed for twelve years had been fulfilled.
Her fears are alleviated as Jesus calls her Daughter and acknowledges her courage in reaching out. His voice had to have been tender and inviting, understanding and gentle. Then He assures her of complete healing, not just the cessation of her discharge. She’ll never have to feel hopeless or unclean again.
How do you make Jesus your first hope?
(This post is an excerpt from my book Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory)