Ok, if you’re a guy you may not want to read this. This is nothing personal, its actually Biblical. So I won’t be embarrassed if you read it, but some guys may feel awkward all the same.
In my last post, I mentioned that I had been reading from Liz Curtis Higgs’ “Really Bad Girls of the Bible,” for my devo times. In the last chapter, about the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25). I learned a lot from this chapter, and I wanted to share some of the interesting things Liz brought up.
You, like me, might be wondering why, the bleeding woman was included in the “really bad girls.” Well, according to Liz,
“Though no evidence suggests she was a Bad Girl, morally speaking, the fact is, her community would have seen her as very bad. Dangerous to be around. A terrible role model for young girls. And deserving of her ailment because of her supposedly sinful life.”
I figured that the bleeding woman was miserable. After all, she had been bleeding for 12 years! But I never really knew how exactly she was bleeding. Internally? Externally? Where? Well, according to Liz, you can guess where,
“Five days each month does me in.
Think about 4,380 days in a row…
She had nonstop “hemorrhage” (NLT) of “flow of blood” (NKJV), what we would delicately call a “female problem”….
What was this woman’s medical dilemma do you suppose? Her constant bleeding could have been “fibroid tumors, or an endocrine gland disturbance…or a tear in the cervix, or it could have been a polyp”…
Today’s surgical procedures might have made her right as rain in no time. Thousand years ago, though a woman suffered in silence–and shame–since the list of restrictions for a bleeding woman was lengthy and tedious, quickly turning her into a social outcast…
“When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period…she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge.” Leviticus 15:25
A dozen years of being unclean.
A dozen years of no houseguests, no public events, no potlucks.
A dozen years of no husband, no children, no visits from family.
A dozen years of never being touched by anyone. Ever.
To be considered “unclean” was to be unwelcome and unwanted. Not only was her body unclean, but so was the bed she slept in and the chairs she sat on. And it wasn’t just inanimate objects she threatened with her low hygiene rating. If other people touched those things, they, too, were “unclean” and had to wash their clothes and bathe with water and wouldn’t be considered clean again until sundown, the start of the next day…
What a good way to lose friends. What a horrid way to live.”
I have never before considered the isolation and despair (besides the physical problems of bleeding) that she must have experienced. She wouldn’t have been able to worship in the temple or attend the religious feasts. I wonder if she had to cover her mouth and yell “unclean, unclean” like the lepers did. People probably treated her like a leper, if they knew about her disorder.
And to think, she was brave enough to seek after Jesus. Brave enough to face the crowd and the rejection or stares she might have received. And imagine how her joy at being healed must have turned to horror and panic when Jesus asked “who touched me?” Oh, no, maybe her healing would be taken away. Maybe he would punish her or embarrass her in front of all those people. But no. Not Jesus. Instead he publicly affirmed and praised her. He wasn’t grossed out by her touch. He wasn’t angry. He loved her and restored her. What an amazing God we have. I’m so glad that he’s still concerned about each and everyone of us personally. He still answers prayers and He still cares for our hurts, pains and distress. He still comforts us. Praise God.