As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 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. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 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!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 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. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:42-48)
Could you imagine having an illness for 12 years and despite spending a fortune on doctors, only ending up poor and still ill? I wouldn’t be surprised if she had even spent money on snake oil that she knew may be just that, simply because after suffering for so long one becomes desperate to try anything that could help. Honestly, I can relate to this woman’s situation and the feeling of desperation as the years go on and the doctors’ help proves unsuccessful, and sometimes you just don’t want to hope anymore because it means you won’t be let down. But this woman placed her hope in the right place when she decided to go to Jesus.
An Unclean Touch?
This woman undoubtedly had heard about Jesus and the miracles of healing He had performed for others because when He came into town, she was determined to get to Him. Now according to Leviticus, to touch Jesus wouldn’t have made Him unclean, since Leviticus 15 outlines that if one touched the bed or where the woman sat then they would be unclean and need to wash themselves and clothes and be unclean until evening. Regardless of whether it would or would not have made Jesus ceremonially unclean in the process, the outcome would have simply been Him washing His body and clothes and being ceremonially unclean until evening. This is important because no sin would be imputed upon Jesus regardless.
However, the traditions of the times appear to have taught that even to touch anything the woman with the discharge of blood touched would make them unclean, so this woman probably lived in isolation for the last 12 years as she sought healing from the many physicians who could not heal her. The act of going into the crowd just to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment shows a great amount of faith and hope in the Great Physician that Jesus is. She believed that if she could just touch the fringe of His garment she would be healed and her faith – that assurance of the healing she hoped for – gave her the strength to venture into the crowd that day to get to Jesus.
The Power to Heal
It is very interesting that power left Jesus without Him actively trying to heal her. It was the Father’s will to heal this woman in accordance to her faith and Jesus, although the Son of God, was still human and the vessel in which the Father chose to heal His daughter. Similarly, we read in Acts that, “God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” (Acts 19:11-22) This doesn’t mean we can in any way steal healing or miracles from God, but just as Jesus and Paul were willing vessels for God’s glory, we too can be used in ways we may not even realize – if we’re willing.
Came Desperate, Left in Peace
Lastly, this woman began her journey into the crowd determined but timid, probably hoping she would touch the fringe of His garment, be healed, and be on her way without anyone even noticing. Yet because Jesus was determined to have a personal encounter with her, she got to declare in the presence of all the people that she was sick and was healed by touching the fringe of Jesus’ garment AND heard directly from Jesus that her faith had made her well as He sent her off in peace. She came to Jesus sick and desperate and left well and in peace.
I can’t tell you that if you’re facing physical illness that God will heal you. I really wish that were the case, but we can’t always know why God may choose to heal some and not others. However, when it comes to your spiritual state, you can know that if you go to Jesus sick and desperate, He will heal you and keep you in His peace as you stay your mind on Him because you trust Him. Unlike then when Jesus was here on earth, we have full access to Him now, anytime and anywhere, to talk to Him and seek His healing in our lives. And when you do find healing in Jesus, declare it to everyone and go in peace.