Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, "If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well." Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, "Who touched my clothes?" And his disciples said to him, "You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, 'Who touched me?'" He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth.He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." Mark 5:25-34
I love this story. It's the story that I focus on in my ordination paper. It sings the power of a faith that is constantly reaching toward the divine. But, as many times as I have shared this story, I have never heard it as I did today.
Today, I read this story to residents of the Behavior Health Center at the hospital that I am serving. I had lots of reservations about whether or not to use this story. Can you talk about this kind of healing with patients that are locked in a ward due to their own mental episodes? How do we understand healing? Can you really offer a story where one touch makes it all go away? I was nervous, and even as I read the story this morning, I wasn't sure what would happen.
But then, I invited the residents to sermonize with me. Could they identify with this woman? Could they share in the story of the little girl in the story that sanwiches this narrative? And suddenly, the most holy thing happened. These broken children of God began to talk. They told their own stories. They told their own truth. And I realized that we were all reaching together. We had come together to realize that our faith in each other would make us well. Wow.