10 April 2015

Luke 8:41-56

"She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes." (v. 44)

Psalm: Psalm 107



This is one of my favourite Bible stories: not the main story about Jairus and his daughter, but the verses about the anonymous woman with the haemorrhage (verses 43-48).

In Jewish culture anyone with bleeding - be it spots or sores, menstrual or illness - was perceived as unclean, and hence untouchable, for as long as the bleeding persisted.

Being labelled unclean they were excluded from day-to-day society and from any religious ceremonies, celebrations or worship.

This nameless woman had been a 'prisoner in her own home' for some 12 years - unable to mix with others in day-to-day living, or even visit or receive visitors. Because to touch or to be touched by her would make others unclean too.

Her courage in venturing into the crowd surrounding Jesus in order to seek her healing is remarkable. At any point she could have been 'outed' by a local who recognised her and, of course, her touch would have made Jesus, himself, unclean.

But, her priority was to be healed as healing would bring not just physical wellbeing but also a restoration to community, society, religious life and worship.

One small touch - one huge difference to a life.

To Ponder

  • Who are those within your own community or society that we deem to be 'unclean' or unsuitable for acceptance into our common life?
  • Would we rather see them rejected out of hand, their stories unknown, or restored in order that they can play their part in the world?
  • How can each one of us bring about restoration rather than rejection?

Bible notes author

The Revd Una McLean

Una is a Methodist minister currently working in North Wales. Before becoming a minister she worked as an occupational therapist for 20 years in fields as varied as elderly care, adult mental health and paediatrics.