So ... a story full of questions. Why did this woman need to wait twelve years before God could heal her? Why did Jesus not notice her immediately and heal her? Why the public humiliation of calling her out in front of everyone – instead of allowing her to receive her healing and go quietly on her way?
No: I am not going to be the “teacher who reveals all”. But I can draw some conclusions: in my bones I suspect that this woman was shunned by the community because she was ritually unclean. Over the years she had not only been spat on, pushed off the path, and generally rejected by her village – but she and her community had begun to believe that God hated her. For this reason she had stopped asking God for her healing. And so a dramatic righting of a wrong is needed. It is my opinion that Jesus already knew about her healing before he asked the question “”Who touched me?” I think he brought her out into the open so that her community could witness that she was healed, and begin the process of welcoming her back. Jesus uses dramatic words: “you are well...go in peace”. These are words of wholeness – both internally and socially and spiritually. Here is a woman who has been restored to life in its fullest possible form.
This is the God we follow: who seeks our fullest possible restoration – and who invites us to assist in the restoration of other people.
Thought for reflection: If I was in that crowd – where would I have been standing: nearer to Jesus, or nearer to the woman?
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany“The Authority of God’s Word”
(Scripture reference page 71 A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)