Tuesday 29th June Women Jesus Met –
The Woman Who Touched His Garment
St Mark 5: 24 – 34
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?”’ He looked all round to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’
As a middle-aged woman working in administration, I find I’m quite often invisible to the people higher up in the work hierarchy. Sometimes in meetings, I’ve found myself speaking and not being listened to – which isn’t particularly pleasant. Sometimes, later on in the meeting, a man (and, yes, I’m afraid it is almost always a man!…) will repeat the thought I’ve had and everyone will only then discuss its merits seriously.
So I’m struck in the passage today by two things beyond the healing miracle which give me (a) a feeling of empathy with this unnamed woman, and (b) a glimmer of hope that it is possible for society as I experience it to be different.
Because this woman hasn’t been listened to either – she’s seen a lot of doctors, and I can’t imagine they’ve all been open to hearing what she has to say about her own health. She’s desperate to be heard as well as to be healed, and so she comes to Jesus. When He discovers how she has tried to reach out to Him, He doesn’t simply heal her and move on. Oh no. Instead He takes time to listen to her whole story and only when she has told Him everything that is on her mind does He respond with this amazing miracle.
But, for me, the miracle is not only in the healing, but also in the fact that Jesus took time to listen to her and to understand her. That miracle fills me with an even deeper joy.
Dear God. We all feel invisible at times. Give us strength to speak out our truth, and also grace to take time to listen to the truth of others. Amen.