Daughter: A Devotion

Devotion from guest blogger Anna Morgan:

She pressed her back against the rough stone wall, the coolness soaking through her peplos, the long robes that reached to her feet. Her heart hammered in her chest and the roaring of her nerves in her ears almost drowned out the cries of the crowd passing through. Almost. Hundreds of people stood shoulder to shoulder, a sea of faces, barely able to move yet inching forward anyway. Some were pushed to the ground, others pushed into the walls of the alleyway. Some outstretched their hands, as if just this movement alone would bring them closer to this Rabbi, this Messiah. The man they called Jesus. 

She had heard of Him. Heard of the miracles that He had performed. Surely He could do the same for her. She looked at the crowd in front of her, heard their shouts and almost turned around and went back home. What was the use? How would she reach him? She was just but another face in the bank of many searching for their own miracle. She took a deep breath to clear her head, sweat running down her brow, her vision blurring slightly. Her skin had taken on a ghostly pallor from the anemia wreaking havoc on her body. Just the walk here alone from her home had almost made her collapse with fatigue. 

Twelve years. She had been bleeding for twelve years. Twelve years of being “unclean”, of being ostracized, of seeking doctor after doctor, slowly burning through the little money that she had only to be told that there was nothing that could be done for her. She had reached the end of her rope. She had nothing left to hold on to. But if she could just touch the hem of his garment, just the fringe, she knew she would be healed. It’s now or never, she told herself, pressing a hand against her chest in an attempt to calm her nerves and gather her strength. Just a thread, just a fringe.

She pushed herself away from the wall and descended into the crowd, pressing though body upon body, ignoring cries of protest as she pushed pass. Finally, she spotted him. Her courage faltered for a minute as she saw his disciples surrounding him, trying to shield him from the rage of the crowd. She took another deep breath and continued to press through until she was just mere feet from him. Just the fringe, she said to herself again and dove toward his feet and grazed the fringe of his garment with her fingertips. It felt as if time stood still in that moment. Jesus stopped walking that second and held his arms out to stop his companions from moving forward. 

“Who touched me?” He asked breathlessly. 

His disciples looked at him with a puzzled expression. “Rabbi, look at this crowd. Anyone could have touched you.”

Jesus did not seem to hear him. He looked around, asking again. “Who touched me? I felt the power flow out of me.”

Finally his eyes found hers and she sat up on her knees, keeping her eyes downcast before him. “It was me, Teacher. But it was just the fringe, I promise. I know I shouldn’t have but I have been bleeding for twelve years.” Tears began to streak her face. “Twelve years and no one could stop it. I knew if you touched me, you would be unclean according to the law. But I knew if I could just touch a piece of your garment I would be made clean. And I was right.” Her tears were coming faster now as a smile lit up her newly glowing countenance, color flushing her once pale skin. “As soon as I touched you my bleeding stopped. I am healed!”

He bent down in front of her to meet her eye to eye, his dark locks falling around his shoulders, a smile spreading across his mouth. She looked up at him then. “Daughter,” he spoke. “Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace.”

This has always been one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I think part of that stems from having a baby before marriage and being able to relate to this woman as someone who was seen as unclean. But the other day I was scrolling through Tik Tok and saw a scene from the TV show called The Chosen that depicted this story and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, which inspired me to write a devotion about it. 

During this time according to the Levitcal Law, if a woman was bleeding she was considered unclean, as was anything or anyone that she touched. She could not go out in public, hug her parents or siblings, or attend religious meetings. She had seen doctor after doctor and no one could help her. Just being in this crowd alone was a leap of faith for her. If they had recognized her or discovered her condition she very well could have been killed. But she knew down to her bones that if she could just reach him, if she could just grab ahold of him, she would be healed. She was willing to risk her life for her faith.

My favorite part about this story, though, is not her faith but the way that Jesus responded to her. He was not angry with her for pushing through the crowd or for touching him while she was unclean. Instead, he looked at her and he called her “Daughter.” That part alone gives me chills. This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus calls someone daughter. Everyone knew her as the woman with the issue of blood but Jesus calls her Daughter. I don’t believe the healing that we witness here was just merely a physical healing. She had been ostracized for twelve years. I am betting that she was depressed and heartbroken and at her wits end. She was probably fighting a battle within herself of feeling unworthy and unloved. But she brought her brokenness to Jesus. She didn’t care what she looked like, she didn’t care that she could be punished if she was caught. She just knew that if she could get to Jesus, bringing herself as she was, he would take care of the rest. He can do that for you today. He doesn’t want perfection. He wants your faith and your heart. He wants you to be real with him. He knows you by name. While the world may know you based on your situation, Jesus knows you as Son, as Daughter .

Signed, The Girl Who Was a Mother Too Soon Turned Daughter

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