Touching the Hem of His Garment

Written by Kacie Drake ChattHOP Staff

This may sound like a crazy way to begin a blog post, but I must tell you: I am so glad in our present day and age that women are not considered utterly unclean and dismissed while they are on their period. In Jewish culture, while a woman is on her period, and the week following her cycle, she is considered unclean. You can visit Leviticus 15 for more instructions concerning this. But while we are grateful this Levitical law is not mandated for Christians now, it shines some serious light on the situation of the woman who dealt with a discharge of blood for twelve years. It means that the woman in Luke 8 endures twelve years of living with a large “UNCLEAN” stamp on her forehead.

Imagine. This woman literally has nothing going for her. For twelve years, she has not been able to touch anyone intimately. Even if she has a husband, she would make him unclean every time she touched him. All options of her being validated or vindicated through childbearing are void. She has spent all her living on physicians and could not be healed by one of them. Can you imagine the despair?

But she had heard reports about Jesus. So she finds herself in a crowd. A bustling, filled-with-people crowd. Bumping, cramming, side-stepping, drawn to the man Jesus. And this unclean woman draws near just to touch the hem of his garment. She reaches and touches. This woman who has not been able to reach towards any man for at least twelve years. This woman who has spent her years visiting doctor after doctor that could not help her as she grew worse. She reaches and touches. She believes.

And when her fingers just barely touch the hem of his garment, much to her surprise, he responds. “Who was it that touched me?” She didn’t even touch his skin. “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Jesus is captivated by the faith of his Beloved ones. He always turns his head toward those who believe Him.

A Believer. This woman that wanted to go unseen, slipping behind Him just to touch his garment. This woman that had just enough hope to believe, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Her little seed of faith causes her to reach, to touch, and immediately, Jesus responds. WHO touched my clothes? He waits.

He looks and waits and she knows she is not hidden from Him. So she comes before Him, a healed ball of trembling falling at his feet. And while the crowd continues to swarm and bump and stir all around, he looks right into her eyes and says, “Daughter.” Nobody goes unseen. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jesus does not turn away from our “uncleanness,” even when we’ve been stamped “UNCLEAN” by all those around us. He does not recoil at our touch. He does not turn his face away from those who reach toward Him. He does not just release power out of obligation that He’s God and heal from a distance. He turns and beholds his beloved. He turns and says, I see you. I came here so that we could be near.

Luke writes in the book of Acts that “God’s purpose was for the nations to seek after Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him – though He is not far from any one of us.” The bleeding woman reaches out to touch Him. Peter, standing on that liquid sea, reaches out to touch Him. John the Beloved, full of love and longing for friendship, leans into Him.

And Jesus says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” You can almost hear him shouting I am within reach! Repent, so your eyes can see me for who I am! The bleeding woman, Peter, and John were not just playing “What are the odds that Jesus can do a miracle?” They believed Him. He wasn’t too good to be true then, and He isn’t too good to be true now. His goodness IS the truth. He doesn’t just have healing and power; He is the healing and power.

HE is the Kingdom who is near and HE is the help and the healing. HE is the goodness we will spend an eternity trying to fathom. HE is our hope of glory.

He is the God who stops and turns, who waits for his hiding ones to come before Him so He can say daughter, so He can say son.

The woman, the trembling ball of trust and fear before Him receives his answer to her touch. You are not unknown in the crowd. You were never just another face among the masses. I stop for you. Your faith moves me. 

Beloved ones, reach out. Our King of Heaven is near.