One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the woman who touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and is healed. It is recounted in Matthew, Mark and Luke which makes me feel like it was important. I have always loved the phrase of “Woman, your faith has made you well”. It feels so powerful to think that my faith in Jesus can heal me. It’s one of those verses I want to paint in large letters and place over my mirror every morning as a daily confirmation.
If we go back to the beginning of the story, we learn that this woman has been afflicted by this issue of blood for 12 years, and it says that she spent all of her living on physicians, but no one could heal her. 12 years. I can’t imagine having to deal with any sickness for 12 years, much less bleeding. Considering the cultural stigma of a woman being unclean, this woman was isolated, she was broken, she was desperate. Now imagine, after 12 years of doctors and hope that is lost over and over again, this man Jesus comes through that is healing people of all kinds of ailments. When I have heard this story in the past, I have always thought this woman to be bold. She said to herself “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well”. But there is also information in this story that suggests she is broken by her circumstances, and though she has faith, she isn’t the confident, bold woman walking up to Jesus and shaking his hand saying “Hello Jesus, I know you will heal me.”
First, she touches the hem of his garment, which in my mind makes me think she is on the ground. Maybe she was fighting through the crowds, or maybe she is just so broken by the physicians and by the circumstances that she is placing herself so low. Either way, there is a posture here of humility, maybe shame. The ground was dirty, she might have been stepped on, she could have literally been inhaling the dust, who knows. But she’s on the ground, and that’s our first clue to the state of her heart.
Second, after she touches Jesus’ hem, it says that she feels that she was healed. Now, if it were me, and I had just been healed of a disease of 12 years I would have been jumping for joy! But it says that Jesus felt the power leave him, so he asks “Who touched me?”. We know that she doesn’t immediately reveal herself, because in Mark’s account, it says he looked around to see who touched him, and his disciples responded by telling Jesus that there are so many people pressing in, it’s really no wonder he was touched. And it says after all around have denied it, he says again, “Someone touched me, I perceived the power has gone out from me.” Busted. I just imagine this woman standing there, afraid, hoping he drops the issue and moves on. Jesus says “Who touched me?” and everyone there is looking around like “Wasn’t me, was it you?” “No, wasn’t me.” And then after some back and forth with the disciples Jesus is adamant, someone touched him, he felt it. Then it says, “and when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all of the people why she had touched him and how she had been immediately healed.”
You are never hidden from Jesus. He knew, and I imagine he probably knew who it was that had touched him, but he kept asking, and he gave her the opportunity to be bold, and to have her moment with him. She came forward trembling, and once again, falls on the floor, in the dirt. And he tells her that her faith has made her well. The word here for “made well” is actually a very important word. In Hebrew, it is an all-encompassing word of healing, sozo. Sozo means “to be made well, heal, restore to health, to keep safe, to deliver one from the messianic judgement, and to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the messianic deliverance” (Strong’s concordance). Jesus declared that this woman was healed physically, but in this word sozo, Jesus is also saying she has been saved and delivered.
I love this story, because it teaches me that regardless of my circumstances and the state of my heart, when I feel like I should be in the dirt on the ground, not worthy, and I come trembling before the Lord, Jesus says I am saved, healed, and delivered. My faith, amid fear, hiding, and feeling lesser-than, makes me well.
John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be sozo through Him.”
John 3:47, “If anyone hears my words, and does not keep them, I do not judge him, for I come not to judge the world, but to sozo the world.”
Jesus comes and save, heal, and deliver us. Daughter, your faith will save, heal, and deliver you.
We are for you.
Jesus is for you.