Imagine 12 years without being touched. Imagine being excluded from church, the grocery store, birthday parties, and barbques. You can’t be out and about touching people, pets, or even inanimate objects because you are unclean. You can’t share utensils, a bed, or even a chair because Levitical scripture says that even where you sit or lie down is contaminated. You are the unseen and overlooked. People, even former friends, avoid you at all cost.
You’ve been bleeding for 12 years. Twelve long years without Motrin or Tylenol. More than a decade without the benefit of modern feminine products and good soap. You haven’t access to any type of plumbing and you can’t bathe with the women of the village. You have spent every last dime on medical treatments that haven’t worked. As a result, not only are you lonely, you are poor. You are also suffering physically and exhausted from anemia that has plagued you from the result of prolonged bleeding. It’s unlikely that anyone would stop to offer comfort if you could screw up the courage to ask. Surely your condition is the result of some hidden sin. You are among the most vulnerable in society and you would literally kiss a pig on the snout if it would help.
Lately you’ve heard some rumors about a man named Jesus. He’s supposed to be able to heal people and he’s in your town today. The crowds are as bad as Times Square on New Year’s Eve but a determination borne of utter desperation propels you forward. If you can just fight through the crowd (by the way rendering everyone else unclean as you press against them) you can see him. You are a woman amongst a crowd of men and so they press back perhaps recognizing you as “that” woman. You think to yourself, if I get down low and crawl, I can just barely get to Jesus. I can see his clothes. I know that I just have to get to him, even just to touch the hem of his coat. A fire of hope that you’d thought was long extinguished ignites in your chest as you reach out past sweaty, smelly feet covered in dust and dung. Jesus is just barely within reach. One more streeeetch and your finger makes contact with his plain clothes. Instantly, INSTANTLY you know 12 long years of pain and isolation are over. Because this Jesus is a miracle man and every whispered rumor you heard was true!
Based on the woman in Luke 8:43-48