Lengthy Illness Forced Timeout

woman-at-jesus-feet

 

Mark 5:24-33

24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.   (KJV)

This is one of the most intriguing characters in the Scriptures.  I love this woman!  She inspires me!   She is a woman, without a name, of GREAT faith, patience, love, and courage.  Her story begins four thousand years earlier and is found in Leviticus 15:19-30.  God’s law has her in time out.

The laws God gave to Moses were very specific.  Today, we understand these laws were given to protect the nation of Israel from disease and provide sanitation guidelines that promote health and hygiene.  The LORD told the children of Israel if they obeyed these laws, “all their diseases would leave them.” ( Exodus 15:26)   To Jewish women he provided detailed instructions on how to care for themselves each month as “their womb weeps.”   Today,  disease is known to be transmitted through blood and body fluids and life is in the blood that flows through us.  We understand the significance of these ancient OSHA guidelines.

This woman has had a “weeping womb” for twelve long years.  She is weak, thin, anemic, frail, and likely has experienced frequent viruses and infections.  She can hardly perform her expected duties and in all probability she is a wife and mother.  The Scripture tells us she has been to every doctor within a reasonable distance (walking or on a donkey) hoping to find an answer to her dilemma.   She has suffered the side effects of the treatments and has spent all their money seeking a cure and yet, her condition worsens.  She is in a forced seclusion.  A shut in time out.

Why did she go through all this?  She loved her family and what’s more she loved her God!  She cannot attend temple, her family cannot touch her unless they are willing not to go to temple.  She is restricted in where she can sit or lie down, she is unable to meet her husband’s needs.  She cannot help financially because she is too weak to work.  Her children have not seen their mom act like she feels good in longer than they can remember.  She has been unable to get pregnant.  She cannot go to sacrifice for her sins, for the sins of her children, or to worship.  So she “weeps” physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

I believe at this point she looks suicide in the face.  “If this is living who needs it?”  But like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel she hears a rumor that Jesus is just outside of town.  Jesus.  The man everyone is talking about–the one who heals people with just a touch.  Some say He is the Messiah.

What is she to do?  She has been nowhere in twelve years because to do so causes others to be “unclean” if she “touches” them.  She can die and put everyone out of their misery or she can try one more time to seek help.

This brave soul summons the courage and strength to try ONE. MORE. TIME.  So, she sets out.  Is she frightened?  Will someone see her and make an issue of the fact she is out in public and “unclean.”  The journey to the edge of town is long.  She has not had any exercise in twelve years.  By the time she reaches the crowd surrounding Jesus she is literally crawling.  Not because she is being sneaky but because she is exhausted.  One more step and she may well be dead.  Her bleeding is now profuse.  Her clothes are stained.  Her skin is pasty.  Her lips are blue.  Her life is literally flowing out of her.  She persists.  Crawling through a forest of legs she hears the shouts of the people who one by one are being healed.  She hears Jesus ask, “Do you believe?”  A man answers “yes,” and he walks.  She listens as another seeks healing for a friend and they are healed.  As she creeps nearer inch by difficult inch she begins to recognize this is indeed MESSIAH!  She determines all she needs to do is get close enough to just touch His clothes and she will be healed.  She will not bother him, he is busy.  Just a touch.

Suddenly, she is there.  Within arms reach of him and she reaches out her hand to touch the hem of the coat of the One who created her world.  It’s just a glancing touch.  No one could have possibly felt it but her.  As she touches the hem, she feels POWER shoot through her body to the source of her sickness.  It feels as if she has been hit by a lightning bolt and yet instead of pain there is for the first time in twelve long years strength rising in her body.  She could stand if she wanted to but at this moment she is content to kneel behind the source of her new life!

Jesus too felt the power leaving Him.  He asked what the disciples thought was a ridiculous question:  “Who touched my clothes?”  Now was the time for her to confess to the Lord of the universe what she had done.  She is unclean and has touched Messiah.  Unclean touching holiness.  She would face Him both in fear (awe) and homage.

Jesus looked into the face and heart of this woman and said to her the sweetest words she would ever hear:  “Daughter (such a loving term), your faith has made (allowed Me to provide) you whole.  Go in peace.  Be whole of thy plague (separation).”  Her time out was over!

Do you see the beautiful picture here for us?  We are so like this woman most of our lives.  Separated from God because of a lack of faith.  Faith brought healing, restored fellowship (both to God and man), produced confession, and invoked  true worship.   Do we realize that we cause our families to be unclean by our lack of faith?  Do we realize we use all our resources trying to find answers to life’s problems?  Do we realize we cannot worship without faith?  Do we realize our “sacrifices” are worthless unless they are based on faith and repentance?  Are we, who have the luxury of the entire Word of God going to continue to live in our misery or are we going to step out on our little bit of faith and seek God and have Him show us what He can do when we are willing to trust in Him regardless of the cost to ourselves?

There is a postscript found in Scripture to this story.  The news of this incident spread and in Luke 6:19 and Matthew 14:36 we read, “and many besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.”   People saw the change Christ wrought in this woman’s life and they wanted it too.  This is called the “domino effect”  and it still works today.  Are you willing to be the first domino knocked down?  Our faith rubs off on others and theirs then rubs off on another.  We call it physics and God calls it evangelism.

One Touch  Nicole C. Mullen

And Jesus said unto them, ….. If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Matthew 17:20 (KJV)

Treading in faith,

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About Yvonne Jones

I am at heart, a LIFEguard: "big" sister, mama, grandmother, aunt, friend, swimming coach, lifeguard trainer, and registered nurse. I am in the business of alleviating fear through education and lots of hand holding. As a swimming instructor, I have taught people of all ages to overcome fear of the water and I marvel as fear gives way to fearlessness, as panic turns to pure joy, as tears dissolve into giggles of glee, and pennies retrieved from the bottom of the abyss become trophies. As a nurse, I have been privileged to walk up to Heaven's gate as patients and family are welcomed home, witnessed the miracle of birth, helped mend broken hearts, and cared for the elderly as they wait. Scriptures number one admonition is "fear not." Question is HOW??? The Word becomes our swimming instructor and can help us learn to "tread water til Jesus comes." Something my students often thought I was going to make them do! So welcome to my pool! Jump in the cool water. Let it refresh your soul and feel the unseen hands of the Master Lifeguard lift you up and out of the deep water. Who knows, you just might even walk on water!

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