Recently I was reading part of Madeline L’Engle’s And It Was Good and the following statement stuck in my mind:
“The hem of Jesus’ garment must often have been dirty.”
In turn, I was reminded of the story about the healing of the woman with a flow of blood for twelve years recorded in Mark 5:25-34.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve
years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors
and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his
clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she
felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned
around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples
answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the
woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and,
trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter,
your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Madeline L’Engle was talking about how Jesus never turned anyone away no matter who they were or what they had done. Symbolically she was saying that Jesus constantly came in contact with sinful people, “dirty people”, and it did not bother him. If his being with others resulted in their coming to know him in a personal way, then, as God’s son, his purpose in coming to earth was fulfilled.
The story recorded in the gospel of Mark tells of how the woman with a flow of blood had faith enough to press into the presence of Jesus and touch the hem of his garment even though she was in the presence of a large crowd of people. The scripture says that she touched his clothes. I think it may have been the hem of his robe she touched as that would have also been a sign of humility. In verses 28 and 34 the words “made well” come from the Hebrew word “sozo” that means saved. This can mean saved from physical death by healing or saved from spiritual death by forgiving sin and its effects. I have also heard this term used for being made whole. I like this interpretation because wholeness can refer to my complete being, my body, soul and spirit. Jesus offers me healing of my body, restoration of my soul, and new birth of my spirit.
My thoughts now return to what I read by Madeline L’Engle. If Jesus was willing to let the hem of his robe get dirty by such people as this woman with the flow of blood, then am I willing to do the same? Am I willing to let people who think and act differently come near enough to me and spend enough time with me, that they can truly see the presence of Jesus in me? Am I a willing vessel through which the power of Jesus can flow into the lives of others? I am humbled by these options and want to touch the hem of Jesus’ robe more frequently if I can then lead more people to being made whole in body, soul and spirit. Maybe I even need to reach in and touch the clothes of Jesus myself in order to receive all His healing in my life. There were many people around Jesus that day who did not take the time, or have the faith, to get as intimately close to Jesus as this woman. I wonder how I would have reacted if I were in that crowd and Jesus showed up. I admire Jesus for allowing the hem of his robe to get dirty and I admire this woman for having the faith to press into His presence for her healing when so many people were watching.
My Reader, would you have been willing to reach out like the woman with the flow of blood or would you have been part of the crowd who stayed back? Are you willing to be like Jesus and risk getting your hands or the hem of your clothes dirty? I would appreciate any thoughts or comments you might be willing to share with me.