I spent countless Sundays as a child sitting in church classrooms, listening eagerly to teachers tell stories from the Bible. Even though these stories stuck in my mind for years, I only recently started recognizing the relevance and depth of them. The stories, once just interesting tales, have become real, personal stories that teach and comfort me. The most recent of these is the story in Mark 5:21-43.
This passage tells the story of Jesus healing a woman while on His way to heal the daughter of a synagogue ruler. For years, the story was to me simply a demonstration of the power Jesus had and an example of the miracles he could perform. After rereading the passage several times, and hearing my high school girls group discuss it at youth group, the story has taken on a new and deeper meaning for me.
The woman in this story was an outcast from society because of a disease that made her ceremonially unclean. She was unwelcomed in the temple and in her community. For 12 years, this woman was unwanted and ignored by her people. By the time she encountered Jesus, she was getting sicker, without resources, and out of options. But when she heard of Jesus, she knew that just grazing His robes would be enough to heal her.
Reaching out to Jesus in her position was a gutsy move; because of her uncleanliness, she wasn’t supposed to touch anyone, let alone a well-known and respected teacher. But because of her faith in Jesus’ power, she cast aside the potential backlash and pursued the Savior. Unaware that Jesus was on His way to heal Jairus’s dying daughter, the woman followed Jesus through the crowd and touched His clothes.
Jesus, feeling power leave Him, paused despite the fact that Jairus’s daughter was on the brink of death. He asked the crowd “Who touched my garments?” and out of the crowd came the woman, trembling with fear. Jesus then directly acknowledged the woman and said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” Not only did He heal her of the debilitating disease that had plagued her for 12 years, but He stopped in the midst of everything going on to see her and call her His own. Not only did He give her the ability to rejoin her community, but He brought her immediately into His own community.
How comforting is it to know that Jesus does the same for us, every day? At any moment, regardless of our sin or isolation or rejection, we can reach out and be healed by the Savior who loves us and calls us His own. There is no problem too big for Him to resolve, no matter too insignificant for His love and attention. We don’t have to feel unseen or unwanted, because Jesus welcomes us into His family and His love with open arms. All we need to do is have faith and reach out to Him.
When I read about the bleeding woman in Mark 5, I see myself. I see the reflection of women across the world; women who feel isolated, undesired, and ashamed. And in that story, I see redemption and healing and love. I see broken people being made whole in the unconditional love of our God, being brought out of loneliness and into community with the Savior.