by Whitney Simpson
“The woman, full of fear and trembling, came forward. Knowing what had happened to her, she fell down in front of Jesus and told him the whole truth. He responded, “Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace, healed from your disease.” - Mark 5:33-34 CEB
Oh, what had she done? It is remarkably brave that a woman who was considered dirty and outcast was determined enough to not let the trampling feet keep her from the hem of Jesus’ garment. The feet surely surrounded her too as they pressed in on Jesus. Certainly the bare feet and sandals stepped on her own toes. It is likely they discouraged her telling her to get out of their way since she was unclean and unwelcome. But she did it anyway, she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and now she was healed and lay trembling at the feet of Jesus.
We don’t know every detail but we do know from her story (told in three gospels) she was determined and desperate enough to break the rules. Maybe the determination came because she was so desperate, after all scripture tells us she had tried everything else. She longed to be made whole and she was certain that simply touching the hem of the clothes Jesus was wearing could heal her.
This woman was full of fear and trembling. Yet she was fearless. She had nothing to lose. She broke Jewish law by touching a man while she was bleeding. She risked it all to be made whole again. She reached out and she touched Jesus. A woman who was considered unclean. A woman who made anything she touched unclean. She had just touched Jesus.
Put yourself in her place for a moment. Would you have gotten dressed that day and journeyed from your home, knowing you were unclean and unwelcome? We don’t know if Jesus was just outside her door or across the village. Either way, her faith took her to meet him. Twelve years of not being held or touched. Twelve years of likely experiencing fatigue and frustration. Twelve years of seeking answers. It is often in the places of greatest desperation that our faith tends to soar.
Jesus tells her as she lays trembling at his feet that it was her faith that healed her. Her faith saved her. Faith that surely gave her the stamina and determination to survive 12 years of relentless bleeding and labels in her society. Maybe she didn’t reach for his arm or his leg for fear of making him unclean. Maybe the crowds kept her from getting any closer. Maybe she knew that simply touching his hem was enough. No matter the reason, she reached out and she touched Jesus. Then she admitted the whole truth of what she had done. And she left in peace.
Prayer: Lord, give us the determination to reach out even when it may seem out of reach. Help us see past our challenges in this life and use them to get closer to touching you so that we too may experience your peace. Amen.
We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. - Romans 5:3-4 CEB
How can you defy the odds to reach out and touch Jesus in your situation?