This morning I was reading the story in the Bible where a woman with an issue of blood touched Jesus’ robe and was immediately healed. For twelve years she had this problem and none of the doctors could help her. She spent so much of her money desperately seeking medical help but her condition only got worse. Finally, she decided to try something completely different. She decided to act in faith. She decided that only Jesus who had healed some many of the sick could help her.
Can you imagine having a period for twelve years? I’m thankful when the five days are over. This poor woman not only had to deal with a dangerous medical condition but the stigma attached to it. In that culture, a woman who was considered unclean during her menstruation. “If a woman has a discharge, [and] the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean” (Leviticus 15:19, 20).
I learned that in India, women are isolated during their menstruation. They are sent to stay in huts that are freezing cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer. They have to stay there or away from their families until they finish menstruating. I can’t imagine be away from my family every month for five days. That’s ridiculous.
This woman was so desparate to get help that she wasn’t thinking about how her touching Jesus would make Him unclean. Perhaps she knew that it didn’t matter anymore. Perhaps she knew that Jesus was more interested in helping someone than adhering to a ceremonial law.
The woman took her chances. She braved the crowd that was pressing around Jesus and His disciples and she most likely crawled on the ground. She reached out and touched His garment, saying to herself, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” Immediately the blood stopped flowing and she could feel in her body that she was healed of this condition (Mark 5:27, 28).
Despite the fact that people were pressing against Him, Jesus could tell that someone had touched the hem of His robe. He stopped and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” His disciples were amazed that He should ask such a question considering that there was a large crowd pressing around Him. Jesus knew that this touch was different. This was no accidental brushing against or bumping into Him. This was a deliberate touch and it was at the hem of His robe.
The woman realizing that she could not slip away in the crowd, came forward, trembling and fell at Jesus’ feet. She told Him and everyone there the reason why she had touched His clothes and how she was immediately healed. Then Jesus helped her up and said kindly to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (Luke 8:45-48).
Jesus didn’t mean to embarrass the woman. He just wanted her to understand that it wasn’t the clothes themselves that made her well but her faith. It was her faith in Him and His healing powers that motivated her to go to Him. It was faith that made her get down and touch that hem. This was faith in action. This teaches us that it’s not enough to have faith. Faith must turn into action. Faith comes first and then the works produced by that faith come after.
This woman, no matter how embarrassing her condition was, she was now healed and she could share with others what Jesus had done for her. She could encourage others to go to Him in faith. We can learn from this courageous woman. We can learn to come to Jesus in faith, no matter what our situation or condition is and trust in His ability to help us.