For twelve years I had been bleeding, without stopping. For twelve years I had been unclean. For twelve years anyone that I touched had been unclean. Anyone who sat where I had been sitting would be unclean. I was an outcast. No one wanted to be near me. This bleeding pushed everyone away. Because when you are unclean, everyone is scared of you.
I was desperate, I spent every penny I had on trying to get better. I had sat back and watched my friends lives go on, while mine was on pause for twelve years. Gradually people drifted away from me, they didn’t care about the unclean woman. I missed sitting to a meal with my family. Over twelve years I had lost all hope of this ever stopping.
But then I began to hear stories of a man who could heal people, he even bought someone who was dead back to life. I had to meet him. I became obsessed by it. This had to be the answer to my prayers. I would hang around waiting to see if he would come past. Listening out to hear where he might be heading next. One day there was a huge commotion. I knew it had to be him, it had to be Jesus. He was surrounded again, but I knew this was my chance. If I didn’t do it now I never would. So I pushed through the crowd, not worrying about who I touched for the first time in a long time. Then I reached out and touched him. Well not actually him, just the cloak he was wearing. And Immediately I knew it had worked! I turned away to sneak off before anyone could notice
“Who did this?”
I was terrified. “it was me,” I whispered as my knees gave way. “I did it.” And then I explained why to all the people, hoping they would take pity on me.
“And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
A story hidden between another Miracle, perhaps and a woman whose name time has forgotten.
When we read this story its easy not to realise the kind of suffering that she had faced. It wasn’t just the awkward pain of having a period that lasted more than twelve years. It was twelve years of almost complete social isolation. This bleeding meant that she was unclean and according to the Jewish laws anyone she touched was unclean, anyone who sat on a seat she had sat on was unclean, and stayed that way until evening. So people would have avoided her.
We don’t know anything else about her life circumstances, was she married? Single? Young or old? With or without children? Rich or poor? At the end of the day, none of this mattered, her illness made her live a life of isolation. I am sure that after this year many of us could relate to that. but imagine multiplying this year by twelve, and then knowing that you are facing that suffering alone. That’s why she spent everything she had on trying to get better. That’s why she was so desperate to get to Jesus. Her healing wouldn’t just make her body better, it would change everything for her. It would give her a future, it would change her entire existence.
He healed her, yes. He gave her a hope for the future, one which now had posebilities, But he also called her daughter. Can you imagine how that sort of acceptance would have felt for someone who had spent so much time alone. For someone who’s future seemed to have been ripped away. Jesus didn’t just heal her body, he restored her, and made her whole, and he sent her in his peace. Something that she probably hadn’t experienced for all the years of her suffering.
When we encounter Jesus, it doesn’t just change one part of our life. It doesn’t work like that. it changes everything. it must change everything. He doesn’t just set us a little bit free, he sets us completely free.
But sometimes taking hold of this complete freedom feels scary. We hold bits back. But Jesus accepts us, he calls us daughter and longs for us to be completely restored.
This post is part of a new series, in which we look at the stories of people found in the bible, whose names have been lost in history. You can read more here.
This story can be found in Mark 5.21-43, which focuses on two different healings.