Words of Wisdom

The Hem of Jesus’s Cloak

From: Scripture Comes to Life: Luke 8:43-48 —by Rene Tyson–

I had been bleeding for 12 years. When it first began, I didn’t realize how serious my condition was and I figured that any day the bleeding would stop. After three weeks I went to the first of many doctors. After three years they still couldn’t find a cure and it was getting worse. Finances were dwindling so I began to pray harder then ever. I prayed for my life like Daniel did when he was thrown into the den of lions, but God didn’t answer my prayer. I beseeched the priests. They said I must have unconfessed sin in my life. I knew David’s words, “When I had unconfessed sin my bones wasted away…my strength was dried up…I acknowledged my sin to you and you forgave me.” So I confessed every bad deed, every thought and every action I could possibly remember from childhood.  I confessed things that I wasn’t even sure were sins—but I figured it couldn’t hurt!  

Because of my condition, I was perpetually unclean. The Law forbade me to make love to my husband while I bled, and I kept bleeding. Anytime the bleeding stopped long enough to give me hope, it would start right back up and and I would not let my sin tarnish my husband, so we have abstained for 12 years. Every day I expected him to divorce me. Sometimes he wouldn’t even come home at night. I don’t blame him. .. What use was I?  I was in constant pain and weak from the loss of blood. I had no money. I thought of leaving my home so that I wouldn’t be a burden but how could I make a living? I couldn’t even resort (heaven forbid) to prostitution because of my condition. I had lost hope.

Then one day, I heard about a very special Teacher. People spoke in whispers that he might even be the Messiah—the one sent by God to save us.  A friend of my neighbor’s brother was supposedly healed of leprosy by this man. When I heard that, I made up my mind that if he ever came near our town I would do anything to get close to him. I couldn’t possibly speak to him…he is a Teacher after all, but if I just touched the hem of his cloak, maybe I would be healed. I would certainly be healed if he is the Messiah! A spark of hope ignited in my heart and I began to plan. I will wear a long head scarf and blend in with the crowd. No one will recognise me. They will all be focused on Him.  

Before I knew it he had come to our town, passing down my very street!  I think everyone in the entire village was walking him through the town. I slipped out my door and became one of many bodies escorting the Teacher through our streets. My headscarf hid my face and no one noticed me. Little by little I pushed and wiggled and maneuvered my way to right where Jesus was walking.  I waited for an opportunity.  He wore a long robe and a head scarf with tassels as all Teachers did.

As he turned a corner, his cloak swished right past me.  I reached out and brushed the tassel on the edge of his scarf. Instantly my pain ceased! I stopped walking and stood perfectly still. No one noticed. They shoved right past me and continued to escort Jesus through the town, but immediately I knew something was different. Something very good. Unbelievable!

I turned on my heel to walk home when a man’s voice stopped me. “Who touched me?” The crowd stopped moving. What’s going on?  I peeked over my shoulder to see that the Teacher was standing perfectly still. Feet planted, looking at the crowd. “Who touched me?” The crowd grew quiet. His disciples said something that I couldn’t quite hear but then in a clear voice, he said, “No, I felt power leave my body.  Someone touched me. Who touched me?” A murmur started amongst the crowd. “Did you touch him? No? Me either.”

‘Please keep walking!’ My mind pleaded, but he just stood there looking each person in the face, body perfectly settled as if he had arrived at his destination. My stomach sank. Rocks in my gut, gravel in my mouth. There was no escape. I glanced up one last time but this time his eyes found me and wouldn’t let go. “Who touched me?” He said softly. The crowd saw that he was speaking to me. My whole body began to tremble and I couldn’t stop shaking. The crowd began to part and made space between him and me. I thought that to touch him unobtrusively was a good idea but what if he thinks I’m a thief?! I am a thief! I stole a healing. I took his power—not much, he obviously had more…but how could I justify myself? How wretched am I!

“It was me,” I whisper. Then the sobs come and I can’t stop them.  His eyes won’t stop looking at me and they are so kind. They whisper to my heart, ‘Tell me your story.’ So I do. Between sobs I tell him how I’ve suffered for 12 years. The humiliation of talking to all those male doctors, poking and prodding — so many intimate details of my life laid bare before them. The priests who serve Yahweh are convinced that I sinned and deserve this punishment, the women whisper together—they all know I am Unclean.  My own husband has no use for me. When I heard about you, Teacher, I had a glimmer of hope and I knew- I just knew that if I could even touch the hem of your cloak then maybe I might have a chance at a normal life. That maybe I might be healed.

His eyes smiled before his lips did, and suddenly I knew that I wasn’t condemned. His words to me were, “Daughter, you are healed. It is your faith that has made you well. Go in peace.” And the strangest thing happened. A soft voice whispered in my mind, “You are more precious then you can ever fathom. I don’t condemn you.  You never need to hide or sneak away from me; go in peace.  Go in assurance that I see you. I hear you. I know you. I love you.”

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