My morning began like every other. Farm chores were quickly done before I settled in a comfortable chair with my coffee and bible. I briefly considered some life challenges and how I could resolve them. With no expectation, I began reading where the book randomly opened.
The old highlights of scripture drew my attention. The woman with the issue of blood. Although I’ve read the story many times, I felt led to give it more consideration today.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Luke 8:43-48
The precise nature of the woman’s problem is not provided. Regardless, her condition made her ceremonially unclean. According to the law (Leviticus 15:25–27) the bed she lies on, the furniture she sits on, and whoever she touches would be unclean. If someone were to touch her or the furnishings she used, they would be unclean.
Mark provides a more descriptive account of her experience (Mark 5:25-34). He points out how she has suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and has spent all that she has.
For twelve years this woman would have been shunned. The illness probably left her weak and exhausted. She could not be touched or hugged. For her to intentionally touch someone would have been forbidden. Possibly a stoning offense. If she had been married, it is likely her husband divorced her. Worshiping with her community would have been out of the question. She would have been known to be unclean and therefore was an outcast.
This desperate woman risked entering a crowd of people to get to Jesus. Anyone she touched, including Jesus, would be ceremonially unclean. She convinced herself that if she just touched His cloak she would be healed. She entered the crowd with the expectation that her life would change.
Contact with only the edge of His cloak and her bleeding immediately stopped. Jesus did not allow her to quietly slip away. He called her out to testify in the presence of all the people. Fearing the consequence of her actions, she fell at His feet. As an outcast, her touch was unclean.
The woman explained her offense and announced her healing. Her community, where she was shunned for twelve years, heard that Jesus made her clean. He made sure the people knew she was no longer untouchable, and He tenderly praised her for her faith.
I wonder how differently my morning could have been if I had opened my bible with expectation. If I intentionally sought to get close enough to touch His garment. I expect I would stop trying to resolve life challenges in my own strength. How different the world would be if we all approached Jesus with expectation.
This post is linked with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word prompt is “expectation.”