I’ve recently learned an amazing chunk of information about the woman who touched Jesus’s clothes and was healed of her bleeding illness. It all started as I worked to accomplish a goal many years in the making. I love to sing. And I’ve sung in choirs since I was young. But I have never had the courage to sing a solo. Several years ago when we moved here I started taking voice lessons with the goal to finally leap over this horrifying hurdle. Sadly, only a month into taking those lessons I had my pulmonary embolism.
Thankfully I survived having 15 clots in each lung, but there were sacrifices. I had to quit singing because I could barely breathe, and singing was out of the question. It has taken me seven years to build back up my strength and my lung capacity. I can finally hold a note and a phrase long enough to make the song make sense. So this last month I sang the solo that was many years in the making. It was such a spiritual experience! I could feel the power of the Lord with me, and the song became a story about a real woman who really lived. It was a life changing moment for me.
After the program I started researching. The program had been Woman at the Well by Kenneth Cope. My solo was the song “Close Enough to Touch” about the woman who was healed by touching the Savior’s clothes as he went through a crowd. I wanted to know all about her and know her story.
The scriptures tell us that she suffered with an issue of blood for twelve years. Blood in the Hebrew culture was unclean, so she was unclean for twelve years! She had given everything she had to find a cure, but everything only made her situation worse.
This stunned me. So, I started checking to see what it meant to your life in ancient Israel to be unclean. It turns out it was a significant thing. And this woman who was seeking Jesus only touched the hem of his clothes because she was afraid, she would make Him unclean too.
She really suffered
In Hebrew tradition if you were unclean you had to be totally separate because anyone you touched would also become unclean. You could not eat at the same table with your family. Even using the same utensils or sleeping in the same bed were forbidden.
You couldn’t even touch even to hand off your child to your spouse, or even touch your child or they would become unclean too. And if you approached the Temple, you could be killed. She couldn’t pay tithing or offer sacrifices. And she couldn’t pray with the family or do any Shabbat rites.
It is likely this woman had to live totally separate from her family. In the Hebrew culture they kept themselves separate to avoid falling into the traditions of the Pagans that lived nearby. I keep thinking that since no Jew would want to become unclean from any contact with this poor woman, that she likely had to live with the Pagans, or at least in the same neighborhood with them.
I can’t imagine how awful this illness must have been for her. Not only was she physically suffering and sick, but she lost her family and home, friends and social connections. She couldn’t even practice her religion. I am so proud of her for the flame of faith she kept burning brightly enough that the moment she heard about the Savior coming she didn’t hesitate and joined the crowd.
She knew that if she just touched his clothes it would be enough to heal her. The crowd was large, and she likely really had to push to get anywhere near him. The moment she touched the Lord’s clothes, He felt His power heal her. He turned to His disciples and asked, “who touched me?” They replied, ‘Lord, look at this crowd. There are so many people, and you wonder who touched you?’
But when he turned and addressed the crowd, asking who touched Him, she was brave enough to come forward. Even though she worried about making Him unclean, she was thrilled to be able to shout her personal miracle from the rooftops. The scriptures say: “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.”
She was grateful
There are even accounts noted in Wikipedia from the Apocrypha that during the reign of Constantine there were a pair of bronze statues in modern day Golan Heights of Jesus and the “haemorrhoissa” or bleeding woman. It was an unusual art form for those days.
The statue was originally placed outside the home of this woman and lasted for generations. She was clearly a wealthy and grateful woman. It’s beautiful that she made sure to commemorate her personal miracle.
I love this woman. Everything I read about her tells me that she was tenacious and never gave up searching for her cure. She kept her faith in terrible conditions and was so grateful with her personal miracle that she made sure the whole town knew about it. She likely told everyone she knew. I know I would! And she lives on as an example to all of us that God can heal all illness, and that faith is power.
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that this isn't a bad thing. And you or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.