The Unclean Woman Speaks-A Touch

apparel-close-up-colour-1070031a“Twelve years.  Twelve miserable years…I was at the end of myself. My life used to be full.  I had friends and family and…love.  Oh, my family tried to get help for me.  We prayed in the temple, hours of prayers for my healing.  We sought counsel from the priests but there was nothing to do. Isolation was the only thing they could offer.  We had to obey the law.”

“We went to some healers but I can’t even describe their cures, except to say they were worse than my affliction.  I think they might have even made things worse.  I was doomed to isolation, a victim of my sex and my religion.  A woman living in sin had a better life than I had.   People treated me as if I was living in sin.  I could not have contact with people, but that did not mean I could not have a conversation or friendship.  My uncleanness did not mean people could not greet me, or even see me.  It was as if they made me invisible, maybe to relieve their consciences for completely shunning me.

As she relived her torment, still so fresh in her mind, her anguish palpable. “You would have thought I was a leper. I was treated as if I was a leper”. She cried, her voice breaking.  “But no,” she said, “it was just a ‘female problem’.  Often I was weak and ill, in pain.  But I was not a bad person.” Tears followed the lines under her eyes as they trickled down her face.

“I had not felt a loving human touch in years and years.  I would seek crowds of people where people would bump into me. I could slip in among them with no one realizing I was there and at least feel alive…but that hardly ever happened. Except for that one day. I saw the streets begin to fill with people.  ‘He’s coming!’ I heard someone say, ‘It’s the healer from Nazareth’.  I waited until the streets were so full that no one would even notice me.  I could tell he was near because of the excited voices all around me.  They were all straining to see him and speak to him.  I crept as near as I could.”

“I thought to myself…‘Maybe I can speak to him.  If he is as powerful as people say, he wouldn’t even have to touch me to heal me!’  But as I slid through the crowds, crouched down to avoid their faces I became afraid.  What if he shunned me like the rest?  I could hardly bear the thought. Then I realized I was so close to him that I could touch him…if I could just touch the hem of his garment!”

“My hand was shaking with fear; I was on my knees by then, so fearful at my audacity that my legs would not support me. I prayed to God in my heart for strength and I reached out with one trembling finger and barely brushed his cloak. I felt his power in my body immediately.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had been healed.  I felt well!  I stood with a strength in my bones that I had not experienced for years.”

“Now I was shaking with excitement, and I was praising God in heaven.  I wanted to jump up and down and shout for joy.  I began to back away, to melt into the crowd away from him when he turned and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ I nearly fainted, as he looked me in the eye.  He said, ‘Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’”

“Sweeter words had never touched my ears.  I still hear what he said; it’s like a song in my heart…‘Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’.  Isn’t that beautiful?  He understood what I was going through and he cared!  The great healer cared about me.  Not my illness, nor my womanhood, nor my sinful brazen touch turned his heart away from me. He saved me and I will always rejoice in his wonderful kindness toward me.”

Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:24-34; Luke 8:43-48