And a great crowd followed Him and thronged about Him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard reports about Jesus and came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “if I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out of Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” . . . But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” – Mark 5: 24-34
There are parts of me that can sympathize with the bleeding woman. When you’re a 30-something trying to responsibly treat chronic anxiety, finding a doctor who really listens can be difficult and tiring. And while I was never physically worse in the midst of my search for it, I felt emotionally worn every time a name brand med, with a long list of side effects, was suggested. I just want to feel better, I would cry out to Jesus. I’ll be frank – I still cry this out – even after finding an amazing doctor who listened to my concerns, there are still days I want stronger medicine or a supernatural cure.
We live in a broken world, which means physical, emotional, and mental ailments are a reality we weren’t ever supposed to know, but which we inevitably endure. I imagine myself as the woman who bled for years, frantic in her search to get just one look at He who was miraculously healing. I imagine the sweat on her upper lip, moving through a crowd of people who felt their need was stronger, more immediate, than the hundreds surrounding them.
Although I sympathize with her, I also feel great divides of difference. In the height of mental illness, I’m not sure a small grasp of a garment would’ve been enough for me . . . I imagine the desire I would have, had I had physical access to Jesus like she did. I would yell through the crowds, making my voice louder than those around me – “Jesus! Jesus, I need your help! I need you to fix me.” And if I would’ve gotten time with Him face-to-face, after He would whisper to me, “you are healed,” I would chase after Him, again.
“But wait, like really? I mean – I know you’re Jesus, but is this a lifetime guarantee situation? Like how certain are You this anxiety goblin is gone for good?”
The nameless woman in Mark, however, rests confidently in who Jesus is and of what He is capable. I just need to touch the fabric covering His body. She wasn’t drawing attention to herself, she wasn’t making her voice louder than those surrounding her, she wasn’t jumping up and down – she moved quickly and quietly to get to Him. What would the world look like if we all operated like this? Instead of drawing attention to ourselves and our personal ailments, what if we simply took them to the feet of Jesus?
Our Jesus felt power leave His body. As the nameless woman feels herself healing, Jesus knows something has occurred.
She reached for His garment and immediately felt relief. No questions, no conversation, no wondering if this would actually hold out for the rest of her days. And let’s be honest, this whole occurrence is miraculous, but what happens next is actually my favorite . . .
Our Jesus felt power leave His body. As the nameless woman feels herself healing, Jesus knows something has occurred. He could’ve kept walking – I’m sure He was being touched and grabbed at in every direction, but He stopped. He looked at His guys and said, “Who touched me?”
This is who Jesus is, sisters. He feels our need for Him, even as the needs of hundreds of others surround Him.
She comes forward then, frightened at being found out, possibly feeling guilty for not greeting Him formally before seeking restoration. And then He utters words we all long for. Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed from your disease. (v34)
Ya’ll, we do not need fancy jobs or expensive cars to be known by Jesus. We do not need to set out a red carpet or parade for Him to heal and restore. It doesn’t matter to Him if we are overweight, underweight, or never manage to brush our hair before leaving the house. He will take us single, divorced, confused, and broken – because He does not care about labels. To the world, she will only ever be known as the Bleeding Woman – nameless to anyone who reads the Gospels.
But to Jesus? She is His child.
And her circumstances may be unlike than yours today, but our stories aren’t all that different – she was a human, with ailments, in need of recovery. She felt unseen, unknown, and desperate for relief. So, she sought the One who rights all wrongs, trusted that when He said, “you are not hidden,” He certainly meant it, and reached for Him in her time of need.
He knows you, right this moment, and what you need, just like He knew her, right that moment, and what she needed. And He will provide.
Steph Duff wants to live in a world where every human, whether small or regular-sized, learns to use their voice and is seen and known. When she's not traveling and story telling with Back2Back Ministries, you'll likely find her drinking excessive cups of coffee, with her nose in a book, or daydreaming about India. Her favorite scripture is Habakkuk 1:5, and she prays for a world in which Jesus is the name on every lip. Learn a little more about her love for semi-colons, what stirs her blood, and the yearnings of her heart over at www.stephaniduff.wordpress.com.