A woman’s touch – Day 9
1. In this text there are two intercalated healing stories: Jesus is on his way to save a twelve-year old girl from dying when he was ‘touched’ by a woman suffering “the issue of blood” for twelve years – most probably vaginal bleeding. Having a very long menstrual period is not uncommon in women about to enter menopause. But to bleed continuously (whether intermittent or not) would have been a heavy burden on a woman in a culture where she was deemed to be impure/ unclean when menstruating. In fact, she was not to touch anyone or handle any eating utensil that anyone else might use, because the belief was that, that person too would be made unclean. So important was this story in the early church, that it is recorded in all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 9:18–22, Mark 5:21–34, Luke 8:40–48).
(a) The woman must have been sure that Jesus himself would not be defiled by her touching him. See Mark 1:40-42 for what she might have based her decision to touch Jesus on.
(b) Jesus was responding to a request from a synagogue leader to save his daughter from dying. What, for you, is significant about Jesus’ action when he stopped to speak to someone in the crowd?
2. What, if any, parallels can be drawn from:
(a) The woman’s twelve 12 years of bleeding and the young girl’s age?
(b) Jarius’ faith and the woman’s faith in Jesus’ power to heal? (See verses 23b and 28).
3. “Daughter, your faith has healed you, Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
(a) If the woman could “feel in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Mk
5:29), what suffering is it she still has to be freed from when she goes back to her family/ community? (Mk 5:34).