But this woman has been unclean for 12 years. What she has to say isn’t wanted. Isn’t needed. She isn’t’ worth the bother. People quit listening to her years ago. People quit caring years ago. All she had left was sneaking through the crowd and touching the hem of the garment. If she could just be healed, she would go away, no one would be bothered, and everyone could go about their lives. But Jesus came to call His people home.
43And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,44came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.45And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?46And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.47And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.48And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, had begged Jesus to come to his house to heal his only daughter, who was dying. Jesus agreed and they began to make their way through the crowd. The crowd pressed him from all sides. It was slow going. A jostle here, an elbow there. Besides the regular crowd hassle, Jesus was also quite famous at the time. Everyone wanted to touch him, to be near, to see him.
He makes his way. Suddenly, he stops. Everyone else stops. Jesus is looking around at the crowd.
“Who touched me?”
A silence descends. Maybe they didn’t hear the question right. It was a strange question. They were in the middle of the crowd, shoved and jostled from every side, and Jesus says, “Who touched me?”
When Jesus persists in looking around and asking, Peter finally wonders. “Jesus, we’re in the middle of a crowd. Everyone has touched you.”
Jesus continues. “No. You don’t understand. Someone touched me. I felt power go out from me. Who touched me?”
We know that Jesus is true God and knows all things. We know that the grace to heal is not accidental. Jesus healed this woman and did it on purpose, knowing what He did. So why did he say, “Who touched me?”
Jesus also told us to pray, and said “You Father knows what you need before you ask.”
So why pray? Hold that question a moment. Let’s go back to the crowd.
We have the advantage of the readers. We know who touched him.
A woman with an issue of blood for 12 years touched him. Under Moses’ law, a woman in the time of her cycle was ceremonially unclean. She could not enter into the congregation of the Lord until her time was over and she was cleansed. Further, anyone who touched a woman in the time of her cycle was also ceremonially unclean and could not enter into the congregation of the Lord. She had been ceremonially unclean for 12 years.
12 years of being able to touch no one. 12 years of spending every penny she had on doctors and being told that there was nothing to be done. 12 years of being excluded from her family, her friends, the worship of the Lord.
12 years of loneliness, isolation. She was an outcast, unclean. She was used to the look. You know the one. “Stay away from me. You’re unclean. You’re not worth my time. You’re not even worth God’s time.”
The rabbis had a prayer. “I thank God that I am male, Jewish and free.” No one else was worth the time.
Especially not this woman – an endless flow of blood. Outcast. Unclean. Stay away.
If you have ever experienced being an outsider, you know how this woman felt.