Just One Touch
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. (Mar 5:27-29)
Have you ever known someone who suffered for years and years from an affliction? There are times it can lead to despair born out of the sense that there will never be an end to it. I suspect that is what life was like for this woman. Not only is there the pain but also the embarrassment. How many of us would want to publicly announce our weak condition? So, I can understand this woman. She desires healing but doesn't want to be noticed.
We are not given her name; we don't know what life was for her before or after her healing. Yet, she is specifically mentioned here in the Gospel according to Mark. Out of all the healing that Jesus did, this one was singled out for mention. I take that to mean there is something important here. I can sense this woman's desire in the text, how she must have longed so much for healing, and cannot get near to Jesus because of the crowd around him. So, she does what she can. She gets closer, and closer, and closer until she can just barely reach out and brush His clothing. That's all. Then she can slip quietly back into the crowd without anyone even noticing. Except:
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. (Mar 5:30-32)
Jesus knew. No matter how many people were crowded in around him, He knew of her presence. He felt her small grasp among all the press around him. That's how it always is. We may think we are small and of no account, but when we reach out to touch Him, He notices. The silly disciples didn't get it, of course. They were still thinking in the flesh, only aware of the physical crowd not the spiritual events taking place right in front of them. But, Jesus knew. And, He cared, and stopped, and sought her out.
Now, it says that "virtue" had gone out of Jesus. That's the archaic sense of the word virtue, however, and what it really means is "power". It's the word dunamis which is kind of like our English word "dynamo." To touch Jesus is to receive from Him the power that is in Him. It flows into us, energizes, heals, redeems. To take that from Jesus seems like maybe something we don't deserve.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. (Mar 5:33-34)
Yes, she was "fearing and trembling" as if she had done something wrong, got caught in the act. But Jesus did not rebuke her, scold her, or tell her to watch her step next time! NO! He praised her. Right there in front of everyone. And amazingly, said it was her FAITH that made her whole. He had the power to heal, but only those who sought it with total faith would partake of it. All those others around Jesus in the crowd, bumping and pushing and rubbing against each other -- how many of them do you think touched the clothes of Jesus? Yet, she was the one who was healed by that touch. The power comes from God, but is appropriated by FAITH.
Another thing seems very important to me. There was no complicated ceremony in the healing that Jesus did. There was no analysis, and deliberation, and determination and this-caused-that, and getting a bunch of experts in the room to figure out what to do next. When faith reaches out to Jesus, He heals. Just one touch is all it takes.
One of those questions I have from time to time is, "Why isn't everyone healed like this woman, instantly, spontaneously right then and there?" I don't know. It would be easy to say that maybe the person doesn't yet have the faith that God wants them to have. Perhaps, but in the end I have to trust that God knows when and how healing takes place. After all, it is the soul that is saved. The body dies in the end, and is cast aside to await the resurrection. I have an idea that sometimes the healing takes place, but not in the way or time that we perceive. We think of healing in the physical sense, but there is also healing spiritually. The spiritual healing is ultimately more important. Perhaps some need that immediate physical change to give them the spiritual renewal that is needed, while others must bear the burden a little longer for their faith to grow. What I do know with absolute certainty is that God knows our real needs. When we reach out to touch Jesus, He gives us what we need.
Whatever your need, there is no worry or shame or fear about what you are and have been. Just reach out and with one touch receive what He has for you.