And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." -- Luke 8:48
Luke 8 tells a well known story about a woman with an issue of blood. For 12 years she has suffered, but with just one touch of Jesus' robe, she is healed. Instantly, 12 years of suffering comes to an end. Beautiful isn't it? However, there is so much more to this story.
This woman, who is not even given a name, is alone. Women, at that time and in that culture, were valued only as wives. On their own, their culture did not see them very highly. They had few rights and were subject to the choices of the men around them. As a woman who was unmarried, this woman would not have had much of a place in society.
Not only is she a woman all alone, but she is also a woman who has an issue of blood. According to Jewish law, she would be deemed unclean. For 12 years, anything and anyone whom she touched would also be unclean. She was, on all counts, an outcast in society. She would rank somewhere among the lepers. After her bleeding ceased, and she would have to offer a sacrifice of two pigeons and two turtles and then take part in a ritual cleansing bath known as a mikveh. There were strict laws when it came to how blood was dealt with, or avoided as it seems here.
An unclean woman could not be married. She would be cast aside, left alone. There would be no one to speak for her, to care for her, to protect her.
She knows that if she can just get close to Jesus she will be healed. She is aware that she will have to fight the crowds, in spite of how she may feel, any weakness she may be experiencing, in spite of being seen as unclean, she must push through in order to receive healing. It is not easy. The crowds follow Jesus closely, and no one will be there to clear a path for her. Alone for 12 years, and alone once again, she gets through the crowd and touches fringe of his cloak and is instantly healed. She does not approach him face to face, she simply tries to go unnoticed, as she usually is, to get to Jesus. She is certain of his ability to heal her, determined to get to him, but does not expect to be spoken to.
Jesus stops, asking who touched him. Peter says it could have been anyone. Jesus replies that someone did touch him because the "power had gone out" of him. The woman, unnoticed, and cast aside for 12 years, cannot avoid this confrontation. Trembling, falling before him, she admits it was her. With a shaking voice, she explains why she touched him and how she was instantly healed. This crowd that would have declared her unfit, now heard her proclaiming how Jesus healed her, instantly.
This woman, who has had no place to belong, who is not even given a name as this story is told, hears Jesus call her, "Daughter." He is letting her know she has a place, that He will fight for her. For 12 years she has been left to care for herself, but now, Jesus steps in, "your faith has made you well; go in peace." In one statement, he accepts her, encourages her, and esteems her. The unclean is made clean. What would not be accepted in society, is now a part of Jesus' family. She has a place to belong, someone who will stand for her.
At the core of every woman, I believe we have a need for someone to fight for us. Why else would we be drawn to fairy tales? We each desire a knight in shining armor to come slay the dragons threatening to destroy us. Women want to feel connected, a part of something outside of themselves. We have a need to be adored and loved, cherished without conditions. We desire someone to push through the crowds on our behalf, someone to ensure we are safe.
I want to encourage you today, those of you who feel there is no champion standing in your corner. You are wrong in your assumption. There is a champion, the greatest there will ever be, standing on your behalf. He spreads His arms wide, beckoning you to come. You may have to push through the crowd, you may have to struggle and fight your way to Him. I cannot say the road will be easy, but as you simply sit in His presence, you will hear him say, "Daughter, you are mine. I have loved you with an everlasting love. I will fight for you. You belong here."