The Woman who Bled for 12 Years

Recently Matt preached about the woman with the issue of blood, and as part of that service, I wrote a monologue to read before the sermon began. Here it is!

I have been invisible for 12 years.

I felt myself wasting away from the inside out, felt strength withering from my bones in the heat each day.

I hate crowds, hate the crush of flesh and smells and sounds, like an ocean current cutting through the city, carrying a life that I’ll never know. People going to work, to weddings, running errands and meeting friends. That day the crowd was waiting for Jesus, hoping to see a show, and I watched from a doorway, kept my distance as usual.

It can be glamorous to be sick, if you know the right people, if you get the right disease, if you get better. I failed on all counts.

People cared at the beginning, brought meals, said prayers. But when the prayers go unanswered, you run out of things to talk about. “How are you?” Starts every conversation. And ends it because my eyes can’t lie – I am dying, drop by drop in slow motion shame. My skin aches for a kind touch, but my disease is polluting – like I’m spiritually contagious, waiting for forgiveness not for sin that I’ve committed but for the person I am.

My family is gone, and my friends gave up on me a long time ago – they moved on with their lives while mine has been stuck on pause. Until that day when Jesus came and Jairus asked him to heal his daughter. I know snake oil healers, catch the gleam in their eye when they promise what a difference silver coins will make, and when mine were all spent they melted back into the crowd.

Jesus was different.

When he went with Jairus, the crowd almost swallowed him up, so eager to see a miracle they would have crushed him on the way. But while the crowd pulsed, Jesus didn’t hurry – his measured steps were so sure, that I suddenly realized he was my only hope. He was actually going to heal a sick girl, not just put on a show and collect a paycheck. I pulled my veil over my face and pressed through the crowd. The flesh and the smells and the sounds swelled around me, and I gasped like drowning, but this was no time to die, not when life itself was passing within my reach.

I lurched through the crowd, shoving past bodies much bigger and stronger than my frame, eyes locked on Jesus’ back, giving no notice to the gasps and murmurs of those who realized my condition. If anyone could heal me it was this gentle, yet determined man who was on his way to a noble cause and wouldn’t even notice, if I could only touch the hem of his garment.

When I reached him and touched his cloak, it felt like reaching cool shade after walking through parched fields in hot sun. It felt like cool, clean water from a well after 12 years of drinking from puddles and streams. It was so good to be whole, that at first I didn’t realize the crowd had stopped. That the ocean current driving to Jairus’ house had stopped, and that people were staring. At me.
Jesus had noticed, of course he had, and while I stood stunned, feeling my heart beat and the wind on my face while everything else was on pause for a change, he saw me. I was no longer invisible.

When I found my voice, I fell at his feet and told him my story – I have been bleeding for 12 years, and nobody has been able to help me, but when I saw you I knew – I just knew – that you could make me well. And when I touched your cloak I was healed, and I will never ask for anything again in my life. He smiled at me and said, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

And it was so.

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