Scripture reading: Mark 5:24b-34
Florence* did. For twelve years her menstrual bleeding wouldn’t stop. In Biblical times, women on their periods were considered unclean—just like lepers. Florence was not allowed to touch anyone, and no one was allowed to touch her. Her husband most likely divorced her long ago. If she had children, she couldn’t hold them, kiss them goodnight, or wipe away their tears. Friends probably pointed fingers and whispered cruelties about a sexual sin causing her condition.
Florence went to several doctors who took her money, abused her body, and stole her hope.
The slow dripping of blood took its toll. Side effects from anemia manifested—pallor, headaches, and heart arrhythmias. Florence was tired, so very tired. And desperate.
Then she heard Jesus was down by the lake. Jesus—the prophet who made the lame walk again, gave sight to the blind, cast out demons, healed lepers, and raised the dead. She thought, “If I could just touch the hem of his garment, I would be healed!”
Against Jewish law, Florence elbowed her way through the crowd and, when Jesus was within reach, she stretched out her hand and grasped hold of his robe as if her life depended on it, for it did. All of a sudden, she felt different. The bleeding stopped. Headache, gone! Her cheeks flushed pink. Gone was the fatigue, replaced with a surging energy she hadn’t felt in 12 long years. Florence let go of Jesus’ robe and watched him walk away.
Suddenly, Jesus stopped and scanned the crowd. Florence knew he was looking for her. What was he going to do?
“Oh, no!” she must have thought. She broke the law. Would he take her healing back? Florence threw herself at Jesus’ feet. Trembling, she poured out her story.
In some scripture readings, we hear Jesus call a woman, “Woman.” Not here. He called Florence “Daughter.” After years of being ostracized from her family, Jesus accepted her as part of his own. He told her that her faith had healed her, and that she should leave in peace and be freed from her suffering.
Today, Jesus makes the same offer to us—If we are willing to go to him, reach out, and grab hold.
*Name given by author, not Scripture