The old woman’s eyes narrow into an angry squint, and her lips curl in disgust. “Filthy!” she spurts, pointing at me and then twisting away.
Confused, I look down, see a damp streak on my skirt, and my fingers come away red and sticky. That was 12 years ago, but the scene plays in my mind every day. I ran home, horrified, and nothing was ever the same. The streak was blood, and it never stops, staining everything I own, everything I am.
I was on my way to meet my beloved. That memory I try to keep. I was young in those days, and he called me beautiful. I remember the weight of his arm around my shoulder. My clothes and my smile were bright, and every morning brought us closer to our dreams. But that was all before.
Yesterday, I saw him on the street, a little girl riding on his shoulders, her fingers in his hair, laughing. For an instant, our eyes met, then he looked down and continued on his way.
What I would give to go back – what I have given! – but my life has slowly drained away. My face is worn with sorrow. My clothing is dark to hide the stains, and I often walk in darkness. I am unclean and untouchable, not allowed in the market or even the synagogue. The doctors have hurt me and used up my money, and I am only getting worse.
I walk again to the hill, look out over the sea, and imagine what it would be like to throw myself down. Does God see me here? Would even he touch me?
Below me, two fishing boats nose onto the shore, and a stream of people course from the village toward them. It must be the teacher, I think, and something begins to tremble inside me. The teacher, who healed a paralyzed man and threw evil spirits out of another.
I scramble down the hill, suddenly desperate to reach him. I must not touch him, or he would be made unclean, but if I could just touch his robe… I stumble badly and pause for a moment to catch my breath. I can see the teacher now, see the synagogue ruler on his knees before him, and I hear the shouts of the crowd.
I catch up as they begin to move away. “Please!” I cry, panting, “please wait.” A few look back and push themselves out of the way to avoid touching me. I stagger forward, almost within reach of him, and, falling, I stretch out my hand.
I can still feel the rough weave of his tunic as it brushed over my fingertips. Not the soft cloth of the rich or the linen of a priest, but the garment of a common man. I laid on the ground, exhausted, watched his heels continue on, and the crowd step around me to follow him.
As I pushed myself up, I felt a twitch in my belly, as if a door was closing – something loose growing firm, separated things coming together. I put my hand there and began to weep with joy, not noticing that the crowd had stopped and fallen silent.
“Who touched me?” I heard someone say and, looking up, I saw the teacher staring at me.
Trembling, I hurried to him and fell to my knees. “I’m sorry, sir. I only meant to touch your robe, and – well, it has done something to me. I can feel it.”
“Don’t be afraid, daughter,” he said, taking my hands to help me up. “You are freed from your suffering because of your great faith. Go in peace.”
At LIFE International, we want to love people as Jesus did – especially those whose lives are devalued because of age, race, health, or other circumstances.
His love for every person means that every person has immense value. In this story, Jesus is on his way to raise a 12-year-old daughter from the dead, yet he stops to heal a woman who has been suffering for 12 years, restoring her to the awareness that she also is known and loved as God’s precious daughter.
This story is a dramatization of an event recorded in Matthew 9 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%209%3A18-22&version=NIV), Mark 5 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark%205:21-34&version=NIV), and Luke 8 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…).