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Blood in the Sheets

“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young

“If I can put a finger on his robe,
I can get well.”
Mark 5:28

Blood in the Sheets

Woman with the Issue of Blood

At first I thought it was my time of month.

Blood in my sheets.

I am so tired of blood in my sheets, but now I am too weak to even care.

My little one was only three then; now she is a young woman, and she is probably finding her own blood in the sheets. It’s strange to think of my daughter in that way, but to me it is always blood.

I have not been able to live with her in over a decade. She and my husband live in town, in our little home right down from the market. Oh how I miss the market!

I was selling my olives there when I first noticed the twinge of pain I now know is my hemorrhage. It was the first night of thousands strung together to make up who I am, who I have become.

I was Gilda the olive girl. I sold olives in the market. I was beautiful. People always remarked about the color of my eyes. They said my eyes matched my olives.

I can’t remember the last time anyone even looked at my eyes.

Now I am forgotten.

This blood—this hemorrhage—has robbed me. It’s as though a thief broke in and took everything.

Not my silver, and linen, and fine china, though those are all gone, too. We sold it all to raise money for the doctors. The doctors couldn’t do a thing. I went to doctors in six villages. I even went down to the hospital in Capernaum, but I returned much as I’d left, only bruised and penniless.

The thief I speak of did not walk away with my possessions; he stole my family, my dignity, my humanity, my identity. I was Gilda the olive girl. Now I am no one. I am invisible. I am a scar on the roadside, to be stepped around, avoided. Who am I? I don’t have an answer.

Not long ago, some lepers were talking about a man. This man, I overheard, was wandering all over the region of Galilee, doing things I’ve never heard of before except at the storyteller’s. Jesus, they call Him. He was opening the eyes of the blind, healing all manner of sickness, and even cleansing some lepers.

Oh that name! Jesus! The LORD is salvation. O how I need a Savior!

When I heard the stories, I felt something deep in my chest, something I had not known for ages. I felt hope. After twelve years of blood on the sheets, after a decade alone, an outcast, forgotten, I felt hope.

My first thought was to go to Him. I must have Him put His hands on me and command this blood to stop. But my own husband was unwilling to touch me. The last time he came and held my hand, they would not let him back in the congregation for a week.

The stories kept coming. He healed everyone in town, laid hands on the sick folk there. I even heard He forgave a man’s sins just a few days back.

Who is this Jesus?

I began to wonder if I could get to Him through the crowds that are always thronging Him. I wondered if I could get close enough to touch Him. I remembered a story from my childhood of the day they threw a dead soldier on the corpse of an old prophet, and the soldier came back to life.

If this Jesus is anything like the old Elisha, I bet just touching the hem of His cloak would be enough to stop my bleeding. As soon as this thought entered my mind, I felt warm all over, like the healing had already started, like the LORD Himself was telling me to do it.

I knew what I had to do. He was walking by, and the crowd, as always, spread around Him like a river flowing through the street. So I went for it. I wrapped my tattered robes around me, covering as much of myself as I could. I kept my eyes to the ground and edged my way into the mob.

I could not see Him yet, but I knew He was only a few paces ahead of me. I kept saying to myself the words I’d heard deep inside my soul: “Touch the hem of His cloak. Touch the hem of His cloak.” It was all I could think, all I could hear.

Then I heard a voice right in front of me.

“Master, where did Jairus say he lived? Do you think it is much farther?”

“Patience, Peter.”

That voice! The heat in my body doubled, and I knew it must be Him. I dove to the ground, my outstretched hand barely brushing the fringe of His robe.

Everything stopped. I could hear my heart pounding in my chest.

The Master stopped. The crowd stopped. My heart stopped.

To my horror, Jesus turned around and said:

“Who touched me?”

Peter laughed. “Who touched You? Everyone touched You. Maybe You should ask who didn’t touch You.”

“Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

I knew I was caught. I knew He was talking about me. I had broken the law. I had come into the crowd, making them all unclean like me. I had touched Him, and not only was I not allowed to touch anyone, but to touch this man who was not my husband . . . They could arrest me, or excommunicate me, or even stone me.

I was already on the ground, so I found my way to my knees, buried my face in my hands, and blurted out the whole thing.  I waited for His verdict. What would He do? What would He say?

Then there was that voice again.

“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

Then I understood. The heat I was feeling was right at the source of the bleeding.  As the heat faded, the trickling of blood I’d felt for twelve years was gone. I knew right then and there my nightmare was over.

That was yesterday.

Today I awoke on my cot, and there was no blood.

Today I will return to my home, my husband, my beautiful daughter.

Today I will return to my life, my identity.

When Jesus healed me, He didn’t just stop my bleeding. He restored everything the thief had taken.

What manner of man is this?

To read the original story, see Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-43, and Luke 8:40-56.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2015

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

The story above is a chapter from my book Encounters With Jesus, which is a compilation of forty such stories. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.

You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon. If you want both you can get the Kindle version for only 99c when you buy the paperback on Amazon.

53 thoughts on “Blood in the Sheets

  1. Felecia

    Just as the apostles were free from jail, so was this woman, freed from her personal hell. Acts 5:20 ~ Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” I hope she went and told all about her new life!
    Loved your rendition! 🙂

  2. mtsweat

    Fantastic piece Ben! It is a very good thing when we can put ourselves into the gospel stories to grasp the realness of each person and their encounters with Jesus. Very probable that much, or at least in similarity, of what you've written took place, for these were people just like us meeting our loving and compassionate Lord. Thanks and many blessings.

  3. Caddo

    OH MY GOODNESS--Ben, this is Beyond Good, 5-Star Excellent writing!! Beautifully crafted story, not missing a single detail or emotional nuance; riveting, carries the reader along to the triumphant ending that should leave anyone stilled--and pondering WHO HE IS, the Power in His touch to heal, restore, transform lives. Compelling, truly.

    1. Ben Nelson

      WOW - thanks sis - I regard this as high praise, and I thank you and am truly humbled by your words.

      So glad it blessed you, and hope it bring honor to His wonderful name.

      1. Caddo

        I'm wondering how long you worked on this--just curious, as I was not "merely flattering you" with my response. It's worth a reblog, though I'm not satisfied that enough people read those (in my experience)--but maybe if just one person (I have one in mind) did, it could be life-changing. So I'm gonna step out in faith here. I'm still feeling that "inner humming" you get when something weighty, profound and GOOD drops on you....

        1. Ben Nelson

          I started it in the morning yesterday, and did a bit more at lunch and finished it up in the evening. - all in all maybe 3 hours - but i have been pondering how to approach this for about a month. It did not come till i just started writing though. As you probably know i have a few of these out there - a tab of "encounters" has them all together.

          i would be honored by a reblog - i have met a number of very interesting writers when i see those i know reblogging someone i don't.

          It did not feel like flattery - thanks much (I am blushing however 🙂 )

          1. Caddo

            Just a couple off-topic things (saves you a long-winded email): Joseph Prince just finished up a short teaching re Song of Songs; AND-- Mark your calendar for Thursday, I'm having a b'day party for Deb at Spumoni Caddo, and she'd love to see you there.

  4. Caddo

    Reblogged this on SPUMONI CADDO ~~ and commented:

  5. Debbie

    Thank you, Mr. Ben, for writing what HE tells you to and when He tells you to! Praying now for all those in need of a miracle, a healing touch, to read this , come to Him and be healed! What a blessed post!

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  7. optimisticgladness

    So good! This is like a drama that you could do in church. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us! I never thought about what she thought of herself, but only what Jesus thought of her. Thank you again.

    1. Ben Nelson

      I am glad you took a look. I have been thinking about stringing a few of these first person encounters into a "play" or series of skits for use either Christmas or Easter. There are a few more if you check out the tab - "encounters" at the top of the page. this is my favorite, but i love the one called "hush" too.

      thanks for your encouragement.


  8. txbutterfly3

    I found it so sad that she didn't realize how beautiful she was, even in her pain. That she didn't realize when she felt like no one saw her that someone always did. None of us is ever truly alone. <3 If I'd seen her, I would have hugged her.

    1. Ben Nelson

      What a great insight. It is so easy for us to see ourselves the way the world sees us, rather than through the eyes of our Father, the one who crafted us. Thanks much for sharing.

  9. Tiffany Clark

    Powerful. You nailed the sense of shame and loss of identity that come with impurity. And you told this story in a way that connects with women (and men) everywhere who have been violated or made impure, often completely apart from any choice of their own. May Jesus bring healing to their wounded souls just as He brought healing to this wounded woman's body.

    1. Ben Nelson

      Amen - this was an outflow of a weekend I spend on a mens retreat (i know that seems strange) but the leader for the weekend was a brilliant man of God - Dr. Michael Ferris who does demonstrations with a potters wheel, and ministers an amazing anointing for the breaking of many of these horrible chains - shame - unforgiveness - we talked a lot about this woman and it moved me deeply for her, and all those her story is meant to touch.

      I am so glad you happened upon it.

  10. gapark

    Beautiful stories like this are the results of pondering the scriptures. You have added dimension and feeling to this slight Biblical account. Thank you! Gail

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  12. Kylie Gunn

    I often think of this story... with our dirty pasts, we can all relate to the incredible transformation and healing as children of God! Beautifully written! Thanks for twittering me about this page!

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  17. Anthony Baker

    Greetings, Ben. I just dropped by because of the link you left on another blog I frequent, the Isaiah 53:5 Project.

    I just wanted to share something with you regarding your wonderful and touching story of the woman with the "issue of blood." Have you considered Malachi 4:2? I believe that the woman not only believed Jesus could heal her, but that He was the promised Messiah, and that is why she touched the hem of His garment. Speaking prophetically of Jesus, Malachi said there would be "healing in his wings," and the word "wings" refers to the edge of the garment He would wear (not wings like a bird).

    Anyway, God bless your blogging as you seek to serve Him with word.

  18. Mike Lallemont

    Wow, I really love how you captured the context of the age she was living in. Not too many people understand the Levitical laws that she was bound by and how it must have affected her life so much and how being healed completely restored her life as a clean person again. This is truly inspired writing and I hope to read more from you Ben. God bless you and family.

  19. Dionne Makuwaza

    "When Jesus healed me, He didn’t just stop my bleeding. He restored everything the thief had taken"
    Wow! I have often looked at this story and have been moved by the power we find in Jesus in light of healing but never had I looked at the complete restoration this woman received. This is true of all encounters with Jesus, he brings total restoration!

    1. Ben

      Amen - Jesus is so wonderful and His ministry has amazing impact, even today. Thanks for stopping by. If you liked this story, you can find a few other free chapters from my book on this site. One that comes at a different kind of angle is "Exposed." Check it out and let me know what you think.

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