Summary: In Mark 5, Jesus meets a woman whose desperate, but determined. After touching his garment she is delivered!
Desperate for Love
In Mark 5, we find that Jesus was a man on a mission. A very important mission. In fact, it was literally a matter of life and death. Jesus was on his way home, having just cross back over lake Galilee (this time their trip was apparently much less eventful). As always, a crowd was awaiting him on the western shore—his foot hadn’t touched dry land but a second before an anxious parent threw himself at the Jesus’ feet.
His name was Jairus, a leader of the synagogue—but he wasn’t there on official church business or for another theological debate. He came not as a religious representative, but as a frantic father. The Bible says that he begged Jesus, pleading over and over, “My daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and she will live” (Mark 5:23 NCV). Jairus was in need of a miracle and Jesus, having a heart full of compassion, was willing to provide one.
As Jesus embarked on this life-or-death mission, though, the crowd went with him. The Bible says, “a huge crowd followed Jesus and pressed him on every side” (vs. 24 GWT). And following Jesus through the midst of the crowd was an anonymous woman—unnoticed and unimportant. But this nameless daughter of Israel was just as much in need of a miracle as Jairus was. Let’s read this amazing story:
When Jesus had gone across by boat to the other side of the lake, a vast crowd gathered around him on the shore.
The leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter.
“She is at the point of death,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her and make her live.”
Jesus went with him, and the crowd thronged behind. In the crowd was a woman who had been sick for twelve years with a hemorrhage. She had suffered much from many doctors through the years and had become poor from paying them, and was no better but, in fact, was worse. She had heard all about the wonderful miracles Jesus did, and that is why she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his clothes.
For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” And sure enough, as soon as she had touched him, the bleeding stopped and she knew she was well!
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
His disciples said to him, “All this crowd pressing around you, and you ask who touched you?”
But he kept on looking around to see who it was who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:21-34 TLB)
No one had noticed her. No one even cared that she was there. Everyone was far more concerned with whether or not Jesus would be able to heal the official’s daughter. A wealthy man—a religious leader—with a dying daughter. What could possibly distract Jesus from such an important mission? What would drive her to take such desperate actions? Roger Campbell, in his helpful handbook, makes special note of not only her desperation, but also her determination and her deliverance. But it was, without a doubt, her desperation that first drove her to see Jesus.
Although the Bible leaves out the unpleasant details of her “issue of blood,” it was quite likely a gynecological problem—a chronic discharge of blood. Whatever the specifics, the Bible says she, “had been suffering from chronic bleeding for twelve years.” Her condition left her woeful and weak from blood loss—feeble and fading. Luke, himself a medical doctor, adds that her condition was incurable. His diagnosis left very little hope, sadly delivering the news, “she could not be healed by anyone” (Luke 8:43 ESV). Oh, but she tried.
“She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (vs. 26 NIV). It was common in those days, when difficult medical situations presented themselves, to seek treatments from multiple doctors. To her detriment though, the medical treatments in the first century were not always sound. Quite the opposite, they were often cruel and painful—more like medieval torture than modern medicine. Add to her hurt, the humiliation and degradation she experience because of the nature of her bleeding. No doubt, she had suffered. And to top it all off, she was worse than she was before these so-called doctors got a hold of her.