“If I can put a finger on his robe,
I can get well.”
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?”
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
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.