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She walks, not caring where she’s going.

Those men. They claimed to understand the cause of her pain and took her money for cures, yet ignored her pleas when pain roared inside like a hideous beast.

She hears about a strange man who speaks to women with gentleness and care. Her experience screams at her. No man ever cares for a woman unless there is something in it for him.

The pain. She hates it as she would a master, yet it’s the blood that wrecks every possibility of connection in this religious law-abiding place.

She’s prayed and offered innumerable sacrifices, yet Yahweh the forever God pays no attention. Her gender and her disease separate her from everyone. She is left utterly alone.

But this man. What if it’s true? What if those women spoke the truth? A sliver of hope compels her to find him. Besides, what does she have left to lose? Tucking a wayward strand of silverstreaked hair under her head covering, she goes in search of him.

Soon, she’s trying to slide unnoticed through a mass of people. She wants to scream at them to move! Urgency boils in her.

Then she hears the most amazing sound. She can’t decide what it reminds her of exactly. The tone is nothing special, but somehow she knows. Intuition? She doesn’t care. His voice pulls her. This must be the man she heard about.

Suddenly, the slap of running feet. She recognizes Jairus’ voice from synagogue. His little girl is so sick, she’s dying. “Please come!”

Then she knows. As surely as she’s never seen his face, he will go. His compassion is almost palpable. The crowd begins to move again, but she’s gotten close enough in those few moments that she does the unthinkable.

She reaches out her hand and touches the back of his garment.

In that moment of contact, she is convinced. This isn’t just a man. He’s not another Zealot or Pharisee trying to grab the spotlight. They have nothing compared to him.

His power traveled from her fingertips, up her arm and spread through her whole body in a matter of seconds.

Then she knew. As every woman knows her body, she knew. She was whole. All the brokenness not just fitted together but completely eradicated. Gone.

Then he stops. The crowd laughs at something he says. Her ears pick up pieces… someone touched… power went. She freezes.

What an idiot she was to think she could be whole! She, a woman, just touched a man. Not only a man, but this man with such power even in his garments!

She forces her feet forward, stumbling. Falling to her knees before him, she admits what she did. Trembling, she lifts her eyes and meets his.

It takes a moment to focus. Her eyes flit from the kindness of his smile to the blinking dark pools of calm. Then his whole face slides into view.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you; go in peace, and be freed from your suffering.”

Daughter? How is that possible? She’s old enough to be his mother, yet those eyes of his looked right into her very soul. How is he able to define her? How can he, with such power, see her and not condemn her?

Questions demand her attention. With his eyes still locked on hers, she stands and all her questions fall away.

And she does the only thing that makes sense.

She follows him.

Ruth Verkaik

Ruth Verkaik is a teacher turned writer and freelance editor. She’s been published in The Banner and is currently working on a contemporary novel. She blogs over at the Nerd Factory about the intersection of books and belief. When she’s not writing, doing laundry, or reading for the church library, Ruth and her engineer husband live in the tension of “everything is theological” as their three teens consider topics and their beliefs while discussing life around their dinner table. Find more about her at www.ruthverkaik.com or follow her on Instagram @ruthwriter.

8 Comments

  • Oh, my. This woman has been on my mind lately, but writing her story has eluded me. I’m grateful you let her fuel your imagination and wrote it. What fascinates me is that Jesus was also captivated by her, and affirmed her power and her faith. The ways he engaged with all kinds of people and blessed them were diverse and delightful, life-giving and creative. Thank you for breathing more life into this story for us.

    • Ruth Verkaik says:

      Your words are a gift. I was struggling with so many broken pieces in my own life and came across her story in Mark 5. I had this desperate clawing desire to be that woman and be able to touch Jesus. Just to touch him and have all my brokenness healed. That’s what forced me to write. He’s been putting my pieces together but not the way I expected. As He always does.

  • Lisa Bontemps says:

    Oh my! Your beautiful interpretive writing of this story from the woman’s perspective gave me such chills and literally brought me to tears. How can we not be transformed by the Christ whose love was unconditional, complete and palpable. Thank you for this, Ruth. I needed it today!

    • Ruth Verkaik says:

      Amen! All we can do is take our messed up selves and spend time with Him. The disciples were no less messed up than we are and they literally changed the world.

  • Elly says:

    As I was reading this, I felt I was THERE!!

    • Ruth Verkaik says:

      I think that’s what I love most about reading Scripture – remembering that these were real people with real brokenness in real times – and coming to Jesus changes them and us.

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