I've been thinking a lot recently about the woman who was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. (See Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48.) She had been bleeding for 12 years, which, on its own, would be at the very least uncomfortable. She would probably have been anemic and emaciated, because they didn’t have the luxury of iron pills or plentiful red meat, and there wouldn’t have been a doctor who could really help her.
On top of that, she would have been ostracized from her friends and family over something that wasn’t within her control. Blood was unclean to the Jewish people, so women on their periods were separated from their families until their menstrual bleeding was over. So, not for just a week, but for 12 whole years she had been separated from those she loved and who loved her.
She went from doctor to doctor until she had no more money, trying to figure out if they could fix her. At which point, her only recourse was to beg in the streets, hoping that someone would have mercy on her.
If this woman had been bleeding for 12 years, this probably caused some other health issues, yet even though this wasn’t under her control, she was shunned for it by her community. On top of that, she had no real way to get food—except to beg every day from people who already believed her to be unclean.
At that point, I would have been so desperately close to just giving up, if not having already lost hope. How do you give someone hope when they have been stuck somewhere as desperate as that? And for 12 years of their life? Maybe she heard platitudes like, “We’ll pray for you, sister,” without any actual help. Maybe she got unhelpful advice like, “Have you tried bathing more?” Likely, she was told over and over that this was a result of her own transgressions. If she had only been better, done better, gone to temple more... She was likely told that this was her fault, and she needed to accept her fate.
But then she heard about this man. He was a healer of hundreds, and crowds flocked just to hear Him speak. After years of being told “this is your fault” and “you are unclean,” she must have felt like she could never get near Him—let alone be worthy enough to talk to Him. But she knew He was a miraculous healer. That little shred of hope, the one she thought had disappeared years ago, began to shine through.
“I’m not even close to being worthy of him speaking to me, but maybe if I could just touch even a thread from his cloak, I could be healed.”
All of those voices in her head—the ones that constantly told her she was not enough—probably fought to darken that glimmer of hope. She probably had doubts too.
"What if this really IS a result of something I’ve done? What if I deserve to be this way—starved, alone, unclean?"
In the end, faith won out, though. She fought with what strength she had left—which would be barely any at that point—to even just touch the hem of His robe. She knew that if she could only reach Him, she would be healed, because she knew the power of this man.
She must have known who He was. Not some “magician” or “novelty,” but who He really was. Because someone who isn’t the Son of God can’t heal you by simply touching their clothes. She must have known that He was their Messiah and that even His clothing was holy just because it had touched Him.
So she reached out and touched the hem of His robe. She was trying to take up as little space as possible, be as unobtrusive as possible. She didn’t want to take His time or His attention away from what she probably saw as more important than herself. Yet she, knowing who He was, just touched His robe, and planned to leave, unnoticed.
But that isn’t who Jesus is, is it? He doesn’t let us walk away unnoticed. He doesn’t allow us to slip through the cracks because society tells us we aren’t worthy. He acknowledged her—and not only that, acknowledged her immense faith. He confirmed that she wasn’t crazy and that, through overcoming every doubt, struggle, and increasing darkness to follow her faith, she had been healed.
She was healed that day by having a profound faith that if she only touched the CLOTHES of Jesus, she would be healed. What kind of amazing faith is that? To believe in the power of Christ so much that you know even a thread from His cloak will heal you?
And she expected to just slip away without notice, because she believed herself so unclean and unworthy that an audience with Jesus didn’t even cross her mind. Yet, He stops the entire crowd to praise her, to tell her that her faith has healed her. That she is worthy. By acknowledging her, after 12 long years of people telling her that she is worthless, He shows her that she IS enough. He saw her for who she was, and not only did He heal her body, but in that moment, He took the time to speak to her and heal her heart as well.
My takeaway is this: We do not determine our own worth. Not by what we do, how we act, or what our potential is. Society does not determine our worth. No one can say we aren’t good enough, no matter what our problems are. Our pain and our struggles do not determine our worth. Even our worst days do not determine our worth.
Only Jesus determines our worth, and our faith in acting upon that knowledge will heal us. Jesus has determined that YOU are worth infinitely more that you could imagine. Even if we can only understand even a thread of that love, and we follow Jesus only to a fraction of how He has led us, we will find peace.
—Bambino del Dio
Bambino del Dio is a young graphic designer who loves life, and is always looking to try new things. She enjoys art, writing, and collecting rubber duckies.