(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.”
Luke 8:43-48 ESV
This story is about a woman who had an abnormal discharge of blood for 12 years. Let’s think about this first. Women might relate to the normal monthly discharge of blood (or what we call menstruation) and how uncomfortable can it be. Yet this woman experienced it for TWELVE LONG YEARS. But the worse is, obviously, it is never near to normal to have it that long. Imagine the discomfort and the struggles she had to live with every day.
There was no cure. Luke 8:43 even said that she has spent all those years and her money looking for a doctor that could cure her, yet she found none. All physicians failed her. And nobody knows when the cure would be made available.
Aside from this personal struggles, she also struggled living in the society. During those times, the law says that “when a woman has a discharge of blood that is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening” (Leviticus 15:19).
Well, that is, if it’s a normal discharge of blood, because after this, a woman can still become clean seven days after the discharge has stopped (sees v. 28).
However, this woman we’re talking about had it for 12 years with uncertainty if she’d still be well. Leviticus 15:25 says that if it’s an abnormal discharge of blood, then “she shall continue in uncleanness”. She was deemed unclean all those years, and no one knows until when.
And not only that she’s unclean, but everything that her body would touch would become unclean. More than that, whoever touches those things she has touched will also be deemed unclean. Those people should take a bath and remain unclean for the rest of the day. And if a man would lie with her, he would get the impurity and uncleanness.
It’s nothing new to us. It’s basic sanitary protocols to stop a contagious virus or disease from spreading.
Thus, for twelve years, nobody would’ve dared come near her. People would do their best to avoid anything that involved her. Imagine how she cannot even hug her family and friends even if they’re just a few feet away.
No cure, social distancing—aren’t we starting to understand and feel the same way this woman felt?
As if she had a Coronavirus and whatever she touched would also get infected immediately. She must’ve felt condemned and discriminated for something that she has no control of. There’s nothing she could do about it because aside from the fact that there was no cure, she, and even the people around her, must follow the law, or else the uncleanness will spread.
Evenings might’ve brought her hopelessness knowing that another day came by that she remained unwell, unclean. She might’ve slept thinking that the next day would just be the same.
Until Somebody came one day. Rumors around had it that a Man had been healing and performing miracles. And He’s going her way. This gave her hope. There’s no other way and this was her last resort. She found hope in that usual day when she expected just the night before that nothing would change. And there she was, looking at the only hope she never had before.
While she struggled for twelve years, it didn’t hold her back to struggle her way, amidst the very dense population surrounding Jesus. There was ever no cure, so there’s nothing to lose. “If He really indeed is the Messiah, then even the border of His clothing will heal me,” she might have thought. She made sure that nobody would see her as she reached to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, or else she would be accused of disobeying the law. Putting all her trust that even Jesus’ wings (the “border” of His garment; see Malachi 4:2) will heal her, she was able to go near Him and “touched the border of His garment”.
And she became fully well, immediately.
Jesus is the cure.
Even before this pandemic happened, and even before the woman experienced the abnormal discharge of blood, there has already been a disease making its way around the world. It’s sin. But unlike the current virus, sin already has a cure. His name is Jesus. And whoever believes in Him will be healed from sin and receive life in heaven.
And if He is able to defeat the ultimate disease, how can He not cure anything?
Jesus heals. He immediately healed the woman even before He knew it was her. Whoever comes to Him in faith, will be healed according to His will and grace.
If you’re sick today, don’t hesitate to ask Jesus for healing, and believe in faith that you will receive it. Aside from being a miracle Worker, He also uses people and provide the medicines. (Yet those count as miracles, too, right?) Amidst the pandemic, let’s continue to believe that the cure for this virus will soon be available.
Jesus is pure.
Remember how things would become unclean once the woman would touch them? Jesus didn’t, even His garment didn’t. He’s the only one who will never be tainted because He is pure, He didn’t commit sin, and His glory transcends the uncleanness of the whole world combined. That’s just how powerful and holy He is.
Here’s a comforting truth: there’s nothing too unclean for Jesus to heal and redeem. No amount of guilt or shame can taint His name.
Actually, it’s the other way around. Whatever He (and even His garment, in this story) touches, no matter how unclean it is, through faith, will be made clean! As what a song says, “There’s no sin too great that His love won’t heal.”
Jesus is near.
He is never too far for us to reach. In Him, there’s no idea of social distancing. He is always just a hand stretched, always available for us. Whatever we did wrong in the past and whatever disease we have will never push Him away.
Even if what we’ve done will make ourselves run away from Him, He makes sure that once we want to come back, He’s just one feet behind, waiting for us to turn around, ready to give us a big, comforting hug.
And if you’re there on your bed, alone and lonely, remember that Jesus is just by your side. He never leaves, and He never forsakes. His presence is everywhere, and is always ready to bring comfort. We just have to realize and receive it.
How amazing and heartwarming it is that even though He is holy and powerful, He also made Himself available for us to run to. And if He is so powerful to defeat sin and death because of His love for us, what things can He not do?
References and additional readings on the unclean woman and the hem of the garment: