As he went, the crowds pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages 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 haemorrhage 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.’ Luke 8: 43-48
What do you think the woman who touched Jesus was seeking?
She’d spent twelve years searching for a cure for her haemorrhages and had not found one. Twelve years of social isolation, deemed unclean by her society, considered ‘unfit’ for inclusion within their celebrations and communal life. Perhaps there were times when her life was in danger through her constant bleeding.
What was at the heart of what she was seeking from Jesus?
Many of the people I meet working as a psychotherapist have used drugs heavily for years and have experienced firsthand the stigma and marginalisation that comes with illicit drug use, the risks of overdose or death through contaminated substances. When I ask ‘why have you come for therapy? What are you seeking?’ Many reply ‘What I really want is a normal life’. This is the hope of many - a life that is not one of stigma, crises and living on the edge. And perhaps this was what the woman sought from Jesus? An ordinary, ‘normal’ life; one in which she was included rather than excluded from the community, moments when she could relax and contemplate her future with hope.
We may focus on the miraculous when reading this account, but perhaps the woman yearned for ordinary, everyday experiences that others in her society took for granted?
When I reflect on my everyday life….
What gifts am I being given?
What am I seeking this Lent?