I am waiting for Jesus in the street next to the hemorrhaging woman. She is pale. Dark circles paint the skin around her sunken eyes and blood stains the back of her skirt. I know she is ritually unclean, but there is nowhere else to go, and in many, less obvious ways, I am unclean too. Perhaps it does not matter that I am standing next to her, or even that crowd presses me against her bloodied garment. If Jesus heals and forgives sins as they say, we will all be made clean. My heartbeat quickens and flutters with anticipation at this thought, and I search the crowd for Jesus.
I cannot see Him, but I know he must be close. The crowd is growing, and people press in so closely that I am nearly pushed to the ground. Someone yells, “Let Him by! My daughter is dying! He must heal my daughter!” The fluttering of my heart stops. I hang my head, thinking that this great healer won’t have time for my petty wounds.
As I turn to leave, I see tears stream from the face of the hemorrhaging woman. She whispers, “If I touch even his garments I shall be made well.” Her statement fills me with hope. I’ve heard of Jesus’s miracles, and I can see the knowing in her eyes. Could this be true? If simply touching his garment heals, He might not have to be delayed in his journey to the dying girl.
I make my way through the rushing crowd, but so many people are trying to get to Jesus, I fear I will be part of his delay and cause the death of a child. But then the bleeding woman throws herself onto her belly and begins to crawl. I follow, taking advantage of the cleared path.
Still, the way to Jesus is hard. Everyone is thrusting in toward Him yelling, “Jesus! Son of David, have pity on me!” “Jesus, my wife is sick!” “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” Booming above it all is the father’s voice, “My daughter is dying! Let Him through!”
Just when I’m about to give up, I see the woman, prostrated, reaching through the legs of the crowd pushing in on Jesus. She stretches her arm as far as it can reach, and her finger touches the edge of his garment. Immediately her pale cheeks turn pink, and light reaches her once dull eyes.
I hear Jesus say, “Who touched me?” The healed woman pulls herself to her knees, and trembling tells Him everything. When Jesus sees her, he smiles. The father interjects, “Jesus! My daughter!” But Jesus turns to him and says, “Jairus, she is sleeping. I will take care of everything.” Then He looks at me and says, “Come.”
Reflection based on Mark 5:21-34 NRSVCE
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”