Based on Mark 5:24–34.
How many years had passed since she felt normal? She’d lost track. The doctor appointments, trial medications, and quack therapies all merged into one long blur of disappointment. She just kept getting worse … and her pocketbook more empty.
She was accustomed to living in society’s shadow, watching her friends get married, have children, celebrate milestones, laugh through their carefree lives. Honestly, she didn’t begrudge them. She wouldn’t wish her lot on anyone. Alone and untouchable, her identity was summarized by her long–worn label: unclean.
Mostly she just felt tired.
One morning as she was sitting in her yard, enjoying the gentle warmth of the sun on her face—one of her few remaining pleasures—she heard a commotion. She sensed palpable anticipation as a crowd began to gather in the street. She strained to hear the people’s voices and finally gleaned from the excited chatter that a prophet named Jesus had come to town. She’d heard stories of how Jesus was able to heal the infirm with the touch of his hand.
She got up quickly and joined the crowd. If she kept her head down and eyes lowered, perhaps she could avoid attention and blend in. She didn’t have any money left to buy even a moment of his time. But if she could get near enough to touch him, maybe she could somehow tap into his healing power.
She maneuvered through the mass of people. With each gained inch her determination grew.
At last she saw Jesus. She needed to get closer. She kept moving until she was right behind him. If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.
The crowd jostled her in the right direction, and her fingertips swiftly grazed his outer coat for an instant. Then the crowd moved and she was swept along with the throng.
But in that instant she knew. Her body had been undeniably, miraculously freed from her years of suffering.
She felt like crying, laughing, rejoicing, and shouting. But her exuberance was short-lived. The people around her froze. The noise stilled. A commanding, authoritative voice asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
How could he possibly know? There were so many people, moving and pushing. His disciples said, “You see the people crowding against you … and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
Jesus looked around to see who had done it.
At that moment, she realized her horrendous sin. She had touched a man of God with her unclean hands.
Knowing she could not hide what she’d done, she fell at his feet. Trembling with fear, she told him the whole truth. After confessing her transgression, she waited for retribution. Her entire body shook.
“Daughter,” Jesus said. Instead of accusation, she heard love in his voice.
She dared to look up and saw Jesus smiling at her. Smiling! “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
The crowds separated her from him, and he went on his way, leaving her to ponder, consider, and wonder. Who was this man who in a moment granted her healing, forgiveness and set her free?
In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. (Psalm 118:5)
"Free" is an excerpt from Sara's upcoming book: Everyday Jesus.
All photos courtesy of pixabay.com