The Faithful Woman

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. Just then there came a man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, who was dying.

As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

Luke 8:40-56

I wonder, as I read about the bleeding woman, if Jesus didn’t insist on finding out who touched Him for a reason. Surely He knew, or could have known without much effort. And why push so hard for the answer and not just let the miracle go by? When I was younger Jesus always seemed so angry in this passage. Maybe the woman thought so too, and that is why she tried to hide. But I think that Jesus’s intention was that should should show her faith. What a wonderful learning opportunity for those listening! Jesus could have just let her be healed and happy, or keep her experience to herself, but instead he turned her into a powerful example of faith.

And it is no accident, I think, that He did all of this smack dab in the middle of his interaction with Jairus. I had always marveled at Jairus’s faith that Jesus could heal his daughter, but then Jairus first despairs and then laughs at Jesus when he finds out that she is dead. Maybe this woman was specifically meant to show Jairus what faith was. Maybe if Jairus hadn’t seen her healed just by touching Jesus’s cloak, his faith would have failed completely when his daughter died. Or maybe it is more simple, and she is intended only as a foil to the disbelief of Jairus’s family.

Whichever it is, there is no doubt that the bleeding woman is set up as an example of great faith. Women seem to have the strongest faith, in fact, throughout the gospels. I think the people who think the Bible is sexist need to read it again, personally.

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2 Responses to The Faithful Woman

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    A teacher of mine mentioned that technically, the bleeding woman was ritually impure and anyone she touches becomes ritually impure. Were Jesus any other rabbi, his first concern would be to and purify himself. Jesus was not any other rabbi, and he was far more concerned that she knew that he didn’t have a problem than making a big scene about impurity. Jesus’ power can not only heal the sick, but he can cleanse the impure and raise the dead.


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