Twelve Years An Outcast (Shattered Magazine)

This woman’s story has been rolling in my head and heart for a while now. The interesting part is she didn’t plan on telling her story. But oh, the power when she did! 

She had come that day with a plan, one that didn’t include anyone noticing her. Not even Him. She believed if she could just touch Him — not even Him, just His cloak was good enough — she would be healed. The bleeding would stop. Her shame would go away. She could be a productive member of society again. Twelve years on the outskirts was enough to make a person dream big, go crazy or both.

That’s right: She had been bleeding for twelve years. It was frustrating. Debilitating. Exhausting. Because the condition rendered her unclean, she was not allowed to worship. She was a pariah.

She had done all she could. Tried everything. She had seen doctor after doctor after doctor. She had spent her entire life savings seeking medical help, but no one could help her. She wasn’t getting better at all. In fact, she was getting worse! She was broke, still bleeding and hopelessly discouraged.

But she hadn’t tried Him.

Everyone was talking about Him. He was going around speaking in the temples and from boats and on hills. A handful of followers went everywhere with Him and told stories of leper-healing and storm-calming and even a paralyzed guy who was lowered through the ceiling by his friends. He got healed, too. She’d heard these stories from people who’d seen it with their own eyes. Word traveled fast.

Maybe He could help her? Worth a try. She literally had nothing to lose.

So the plan was to get to Him and just touch His coat. She figured if He could stop a storm with just the sound of His voice, then surely He wouldn’t have to talk to her or examine her or anything. She’d been through enough embarrassing examinations for a lifetime.

If she could just touch His coat — maybe even the fringe of it — she would be healed. Just touch His coat. That’s all she needed to do! She’d !nd Him in town on a morning she was feeling good; she’d need enough energy to cut through the crowd to get to Him. She was small, which worked against her anemia, but would help her wind in and out.

Today was the day.

There He was. Now just to get in the crowd. She had found another coat to throw over herself, one large enough to wrap around her head and cover her face. Otherwise, she’d be recognized and pushed out, probably even trampled.

There’s a reason you never hear of a compassionate mob. They’re always angry. Nobody wanted to be near an unclean woman. If she could just get in, touch His robe and get out without anybody noticing, that would be ideal.

So she did. She squeezed her way into the crowd with her eyes !xed on His coat. There was nothing more beautiful in that moment than His coat. She locked her eyes on it and didn’t stop moving until her !ngers found its fringe. And that’s when she knew.

No more bleeding.

She could feel in her body that it was done. Gone. She felt the flow dry up, just like that. It couldn’t have been a fluke; it happened exactly when she touched Him. There was no doubt in her mind: She was healed!

But she couldn’t celebrate just yet. She just had to get out of there, back through the crowd and out of sight. Back to life. Life she hadn’t had in twelve years! Just as soon as she got away from the crowd.

She thought she was going to get away with it. But when He stopped, the crowd stopped with Him, and she realized being the only one going the opposite direction wasn’t helping her inconspicuousness.

“Wait,” He said. “Who touched me?”

“Lord,” His people contested. “There’s people everywhere. Who ISN’T touching you?”

“No, no. Someone touched me. I felt power go out from me.”

That was exactly what she didn’t want to happen. Get in, get healed, get out — that was the plan. Not this! But there was no denying it now. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, right? Well. This was the asking forgiveness part.

She turned back toward the crowd, toward Him, and flung herself at His feet. The crowd had parted for her, and from the ground in front of Him, she trembled and explained what had happened just moments before.

In front of that whole crowd, she told her story. How she had been bleeding for twelve years. How she’d spent her life savings on doctors. How none of them helped, and she was only getting worse. How somehow she knew if she could just touch Him, she would be healed. And how it happened. Immediately. Completely. Wonderfully.

He saw her. And she saw Him. Something about His eyes. She thought they were the kindest eyes she had ever seen.

He knew she had been healed. She knew she had been healed.

But for all listening, Jesus said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

This story was originally published online at Shattered Magazine on February 7, 2018. 

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