Three of the four Gospels tell her story (Matt 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48), yet we don’t know her name. We don’t even know the name of her medical condition, only that she had some sort of incurable bleeding disorder-possibly hemophilia or, more likely, something gynecological in nature mophilia or, more likely, something gynecological in nature.
If it were a chronic menstrual disorder, this poor women was probably relieved to be anonymous. Such a condition would have made her, according to Jewish ceremonial law, continuously “unclean” (Lev 15:25-27). Her presence at any sort of social gathering would have been unacceptable. Perhaps a lepers’ colony would have welcomed someone like her. Perhaps.
Hers was a grim, hopeless life: all the embarrassing personal and practical considerations; all the tricky social ramifications. If you’ve ever had an illness that the so-called experts couldn’t diagnose, much less cure, or if you’ve been perpetually week, taken advantage of, pitied yet shunned, you know how she felt. Our unnamed friend learned quickly to make herself scarce, even invisible. She consigned herself to eking out a lonely existence in e margins and shadows.
That is, until the day she heard Jesus was in town.
She was in the second decade of her mystery illness. She had lost track of all the doctors she’d consulted, all the money she’d spent on treatments that proved worthless. And now the traveling teacher with the reported power to heal the sick was just up the road.
Thinking, What if all the stories I’ve heard are true? or What have I got to lose?, she took off.
Jesus wasn’t hard to find. She simply looked for the big. boisterous crowd. Then she listened to the excited chatter all about her. He was in the center of this mob, all right, heading to someone’s home to attend to a sick child.
Figuring, This is my chance, she began to work her way through the jostling, joyful masses. A handful of people recognized her, gave her horrified looks, and quickly stepped aside (the one and only time her illness had ever benefited her).
In a matter of moments, she was directly behind him. People were greeting him, grabbing at him, and patting him on the back. All this even as his followers tried to form a human shield around him and push back the crowd.
She felt nervous and embarrassed and desperate all at once. But she also felt, from somewhere, a strange surge of confidence-or was it faith? Quickening her step, she muttered under her breath, “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well” (Mark 5:28).
Lunging forward while stretching out her hand, she managed to brush her fingers against the cloth of his garment. It took only an instant, but instantly she knew the truth in her head. More importantly, she felt it in her body. She was well.
Before she could turn and blend back into the watching masses, Jesus stopped dead in his tracks. “He turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My robes?” (Mark 5:30).
While Jesus scanned the tightly packed crowd about him, his disciples essentially replied, “Who hasn’t touched your robes?
It was at this point that the woman who had been made clean by Jesus decided to come clean. She stepped forward, bowed at Christ’s feet, and told him everything. ‘”Daughter,’ He said to her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction” (Mark 5:34).
It’s not hard to imagine Jesus smiling as he said this to her. It’s not hard to imagine our unnamed friend smiling for a long, long time after that moment.
MARK 5:34 – ‘”Daughter,’ He said her, ‘your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction.'”