We do not even know her name. She is just “a certain woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years.” Three gospels describe the account of this woman with the issue of blood. Mark 5:25-34 has the longest passage about her. We know she suffered with this problem for over a decade and spent all of her money on many physicians, only to get worse and not better. I am inclined to think she had a feminine problem which caused her to bleed. Under the Levitical Law, a woman with a discharge would be unclean for as long as she had a discharge and then for seven days after that. Anything she came in contact with would be considered unclean, from anything she sat on to any vessel she touched or anyone who touched her or her belongings (Lev. 15:19-33). When she was no longer unclean on the eighth day, she would have to bring 2 turtledoves and 2 young pigeons to the priest for a sin offering and a burnt offering to make atonement. I questioned why it would be considered a sin to have a monthly cycle, but I believe it stems from Eve’s sin and the resulting consequences (Gen. 3:16). It would have been very isolating and demoralizing to have this condition for a long period of time.
While I carried my second son, I experienced tremendous pain. The doctors checked all that they could and just tossed it up to growing pains called round ligament pains. I found it hard to believe because I didn’t experience it with my first son. I had lower abdominal pain all the time. I couldn’t get out much and grocery shopping with a two and one half year old was a nightmare. I could barely get through it. After Luke was born, they didn’t go away and I had irregular cycles and much abdominal pain. I was so tired as a result. I sought the advice of two primary care physicians, a gastroenterologist, two obstetricians and one of their PAs. I even underwent a colonoscopy to see if it was my colon causing the pain. The second OB suspected endometriosis but couldn’t verify without an invasive procedure that would mean I couldn’t lift anything for several weeks. With a husband who traveled often for work and two small boys to care for, that was out of the question. I just decided that if Paul could get through life with a thorn in his side than I could as well. After all, if God’s grace was sufficient for him, then it is for me too. Unlike the biblical woman, I did not spend all my money on these doctors but it sure wasn’t cheap. I can very much understand this woman’s suffering. It can seem hopeless, frustrating, and burdensome to not be able to be yourself and do the things you would normally do; to seek a cure and not find it.
This woman heard about Jesus. I’m sure word of Jesus’ ability to heal and cast out demons had been circulating and she was privy to those accounts somehow (Mark 3:10-11, Matt. 14:35-36). Jesus returned to this side of the sea and a multitude was waiting for Him (Mark 5:21; Luke 8:40). Jairus reached Jesus and begged him to come to his house to heal his 12-year-old daughter who was on the brink of death. Jesus went with him, and so did the crowd. The woman with the issue of blood came from behind Jesus and touched the border of His garment and immediately her flow of blood stopped (Luke 8:44). For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” She felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction (Mark 5:28-29). Jesus felt power leaving Him and searched for her who touched Him. She came forward and declared the reason she had touched Him and how she was immediately healed.
To review of the sequence of events: she heard of Jesus, she believed in Jesus’s ability to heal, and she trusted Him to heal her. These three things led her to act. She was not desperate; she was SURE! We can see her faith. Are these three things not the same steps that lead us to salvation? We must hear of Jesus, we must believe in Jesus and trust in His power to save. Desperation, though we are desperate without Him, should not lead us to the watery grave of baptism. Rather, it must be surety, surety in who Jesus is and the power of His blood to wash away our sins. We must have faith! Then we must confess it and act on it, just as she did.
With a severe virus going around and the resulting quarantine, I have an increased urgency to improve myself and make sure that I am ready to depart this world. I have doubled my existing efforts to reflect upon my heart and actions and make sure that I am being a Christ-like example to all, but especially my two boys that I have the privilege to raise. I want them to be able to seek and find Jesus just like this woman did. I want them to have knowledge and the faith to act on it like she did, with no doubts.
This article is titled “The Woman with the Blood Issue,” but it is not just about her as a person. It’s this nameless person’s interaction with Jesus that brings her importance to be included in three out of the four gospel accounts. So it is with us. I haven’t done anything noteworthy causing me to be written down in history. Yet I have a name and my interaction with Jesus will cause it to be written in the Book of Life.
Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter when this woman came up and touched the border of His garment. Her action of faith took just moments to complete, but it changed her whole world. The same can be true for us. Seize your moment. Believe and act on it. You can be sure that Jesus will heal you, sometimes in an earthly way but always spiritually.
Samantha and her family live in Florence, SC.