Today’s reading was Mark 5:25-34:
25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
She had tried the doctors. Maybe she had tried home cures, but nothing had worked. This woman because of her bleeding had been in a state of ritual uncleanness for 12 years. Excluded from the temple and synagogue, excluded from social gatherings. According to Mosaic law, even the furniture she sat on would be unclean because of her continual (probably menstrual) bleeding.
But then, the pivotal moment: When she heard about Jesus… This was the turning point. She heard about Jesus, and even though he was in some ways a second choice, she still went for it. Jesus was a second choice because she wasn’t supposed to touch anybody, and she would have to do that, and risk public embarrassment and exposure. But she was desperate enough to do it, because the doctors had failed her.
Paul’s letter to the Roman church says this:
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
This woman’s life would not have been radically altered if people had not been talking about Jesus. If they were quiet about him, she would have continued as she was, a sick social outcast. I guess we all have a choice: to “gossip the gospel”, or to be quiet. To have beautiful feet, or to keep this to ourselves.
How many of our friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances might find relief and salvation if we were bold enough to have them hear about Jesus, if we dared to offer to pray for them when we notice a need, when they are in distress? We won’t know unless we try.