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Jesus was on a mission. He had a young girl to heal. He walked determinedly through the crowd focused on His destination. There was someone in the crowd who also had a mission. We don’t know her name, but her story was told in Luke 8:43-48 and Mark 5:25-34. To make it easier to tell her story, we'll call her Marah.
Marah had an “issue of blood”. According to BibleStudyTools.com, this could mean one of two things:
(1) A discharge, the consequence of uncleanness and sin.
(2) a hemorrhage, either natural (where the word used is maqor, literally, a "fountain"), or the consequence of disease.
We don’t know when Marah’s bleeding started, but maybe at first she thought it was her period. A blood discharge would have made her unclean for seven days. Anyone who touched her would be unclean until that evening, and anything she sat on would be considered unclean (Leviticus 15:19-23). This would have been something she was used to; after all it happened once a month.
But it didn’t stop.
Long after her customary period should have ended, she was still bleeding. This happened before sterile hospital rooms and doctors in white coats with years of schooling. Chances are, she would have gone to the priest to see what he had to say about it.
The natural reaction would have
been that she had sinned in some manner against God and this was her
punishment. Maybe Marah tried to figure out what she had done to make God
punish her in this manner. Or, maybe like Job, she maintained her innocence and
declared she had done nothing to deserve the punishment she had
Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. As time passed, she became reclusive. For Marah, the blood became an issue. She was not able to go to the temple. Maybe she stopped going out in public unless absolutely necessary because she knew anyone who touched her would be considered unclean.
She went to the physicians of the time hoping to find a cure. But it didn’t happen. Mark tells us “she had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse” (Mark 5:26 NLT).
According to Healthline.com, an abnormally heavy menstrual flow can cause a woman to experience fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, and dizziness which may be an indication of anemia. Can you imagine how much worst it would have been for someone who was bleeding constantly for twelve years?
Somehow, this woman with the issue of blood heard about Jesus. She heard He was good at healing the sick. She had no reason to believe He would be able to help her. Remember, she had spent twelve years with this condition and nobody had been able to help.
But her faith –
She believed this man could heal her when no one else could. What I love about the woman with the issue of blood was how bold she was in her declaration. Up to that point Jesus had put His hands on people when He healed them. But Marah believed Jesus didn’t even have to touch her – maybe she worried about making Him unclean – if she touched just the edge of His clothing, she would be healed.
Wasn’t that bold faith?
I want faith like that. I want to believe that any issue that I’m facing is important to God and I can go to Him with it and receive healing.
As a hero of faith, the woman with the issue of blood stands out because she dared to believe there was power in the very clothing which touched the body of Christ. She overcame her fear of being disdained and ostracized by her peers to seek out her Savior.
Like Marah, we can have bold faith. But it requires action. It requires first a belief and then, a step forward in faith.