I wish I knew her name. The woman in the gospels that bled for 12 years. I wish we could be friends, she and I. I want to hear her story from her, not from men telling it for her, surely the perspective would be a bit different. There is no way to know for sure her age, how her issue came to be, the cause of the bleeding so I can only speculate. If I take a little creative license I think it could have sounded like this….
When I started my menstrual cycle if never stopped. It was awful. My parents were so ashamed, you know back then during a cycle you were considered unclean. Everything you touched was unclean, including people. I lived surrounded by people and things but they were off limits to me. I couldn’t touch anything. I was anemic and physically exhausted even though I rarely even moved. It felt as though with every passing day, hour, minute the life was gradually leaving my body. Yet worse than the physical experience was the feeling of total isolation. I was alone. I was not part of the family or society. Shame and separation were the only friends I had. I wished I could just fall asleep and not wake up. For 12 years this was my life.
I’ll never forget overhearing the conversation outside the door of my home. The Messiah was coming to town. I knew of him. The rumors swirled and part of me thought that they were just that, rumors, hope that was pointless. Yet something deep within felt stirred when I heard the conversations. There was a buzz in my body, like my cells knew him, even if my mind was afraid of more disappointment. When I heard the crowd forming I gathered my senses. Cleaned up as well as possible and decided to break all the rules for the chance of an encounter.
I pressed through the crowd, knowing how wrong what I was doing was. My touch defiled all those that I had to shove to get within sight of him. I didn’t care anymore. My only goal was to get within reach of his robe so I could just touch it. I knew that would be all it would take and so did my body because I felt a surge of energy that I hadn’t felt in so many years pulsing like electricity. The excitement in the crowd was palpable.
Miraculously I was able to slip through an opening in the crowd. I reached out and touch his robe and what felt like a bolt of lightning went through my hand and surged through my body. What I thought could happen did happen. He was that powerful. He was the healer. As I stood in shock and amazement he turned around and asked who touched him. I was fearful as I stepped forward and bowed at his feet but the fear was unfounded. His love was embodied in all that he was. It emanated from him. His friends thought he was crazy for even questioning since so many were touching but he knew I had been healed by that touch. The next words out of his mouth were “Your faith has made you well again, daughter. Go in Peace.”
With that sentence, I realized that not only was the bleeding resolved but the deep ache of separation that had caused my heart to freeze like an iceberg instantly began to thaw. I was no longer alone. I was “daughter”. I belonged. I was his.
This story holds so many truths for us today. One that stands out to me is the fact that without her pain, her blood, her issue she may never have pursued Jesus like she did. I would be willing to bet the pain was worth the encounter. What pain, bloodiness, or issue is pushing you through the crowd? That is the very thing that God will use to bring you into a personal encounter with Jesus, the Divine.