Worth Spreading What is Contagious
42 …As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone.
44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased.
45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!”
46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
This woman had a really rough 12 years. Not only was she personally dealing with this condition, and all of the medical discomfort, but she was ceremonially unclean also. That meant she missed out on holidays, celebrations, public gatherings, even the common teachings. She couldn’t be around anyone that was clean for fear of accidentally touching them and making them unclean like herself.
You see, it was before the coming of the Holy Spirit that unholiness — religious uncleanliness — could be transferred by touching someone.
This woman had already spent all that she had to be healed. Again, not just to fix the medical condition, but so that she could participate in her faith. The Pharisees would do all they could to keep such a woman away from them, for fear of becoming unclean themselves. If she wasn’t a widow, she was probably untouched by any righteous man for the span of 12 years. Not even a hug. (And you thought no side hugs for the 2020 pandemic was bad!)
She could hear the teachings from far off, though. She could hear Malachi 4:2 say
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. (Mal 4:2)
Wings? Well, wings, hems, fringes, edges, are all the same word in Hebrew. So some Rabbis interpreted this poetry as the Messiah having power even in the edges of His garment. Or even in the tassles that He wore to show His authority.
Either way, she believed that Jesus was this poetic sun of righteousness rising and healing. She touched a zillion people in the crowd, but she only believed one of them had the power to heal her.
Jesus let her do the testifying. He knew everything that happened, but out of her lips it became a celebration of what happens in a life of surrendered faith. She could have been severely punished for touching all of those people on the way to Jesus, but she risked it. She risked everything.
Instead of uncleanliness, she now carried a testimony everywhere she went. Like the Holy Spirit, her cleanliness was more visible than ever and testified to Jesus.
I bet she touched every little kids’ head on the way home, and if married, gave her husband the best hug in the history of hugs.