This dramatization of this story is in no way my attempt to add to or take away from scripture. It’s just me seeing a story and imagining what it must have been like.
The Bible doesn’t tell us her name. She is referred to as a certain woman. Mark 5:25 let’s give her a name. Her name is Deborah.
The market is busier than ever today. Scores of people are here, possibly hundreds. The merchants have their wears placed strategically in front of their small areas. They call out to the crowd.
“Fat Chickens!” one says, holding to chickens very much alive in each hand.
“Chickens butchered here” He shouts. His area is somewhat clean but there is some blood on the ground and a few feathers lying around. Nothing more than evidence that he has already sold a few chickens this morning.
From another area smoke drifts through the air. With the smoke is the smell of some sort of roasted meat. Potential customers line up at this booth. The smoke with its aroma has done its job.
Debora is standing away from crowd. She desperately needs to go un-noticed. Her physical condition could get her in big trouble.
“I’ve been sick for so long” she says to a friend who stands nearby.
“I know” replies her friend.”I’m sorry your sick but you shouldn’t be here”. With so many people in the market today surely someone will recognize you. You will be reported!
She wasn’t supposed to be in public. She could be stoned. According to the law given to Moses she is unclean and everything she touches becomes unclean. She doesn’t care. She’s been sick for twelve long years. Doctors have taken advantage of her, taken all her money. She’s practically broke now. At home she still has some oil and some meal but not much. She’s discouraged, scared and tired. She’s desperate.
“I heard he may be coming through here today.” She says to her friend.
“The Nazarene: the man who has been healing sick people.”
“Oh”, her friend replied with a tinge of sarcasm in her voice. “You’re talking about that man named Jesus”.
“Yes, that’s his name”.
“So”, said her friend. “What do you think is going to happen when Jesus comes by?”
“I’m hoping to be healed”
“Healed! Surely you don’t believe all those crazy stories”.
“Yes, the blind receiving their sight. Lepers being cleansed, things like that”.
Deborah had heard all those stories. At first they seemed like wild tales that someone was creating just to make a stir. The more the stories circulated, more eyewitnesses seemed to be coming forward. It was the main topic in the market most days. Today it’s just about the only topic in the market. Word has spread. Jesus of Nazareth will be coming through here today.
“Yes!” Deborah proclaimed. “I do believe the stories. I need to believe the stories. I have no money and doctors can’t cure me. Believing in Jesus is my last hope.”
“You’re a fool!” Her friend says. “You’re a fool and if you present yourself to anyone in your condition you will be made a fool of, and then you will be stoned”.
“I don’t care. I’d rather be stoned than to live my life like this. I’m tired of being sick. I’m tired of having to stay locked up in my little home. Either I get healed today, or I die. Either way, I’ll be better off.”
“And by the way” Deborah said. “If you can’t be a little more supportive I’d rather you just left me alone. You’re supposed to be my friend”.
“I am your friend and I don’t want you to make a fool of yourself”.
“Some friend” Deborah thought to herself.
It wasn’t very long before the sounds of the market seemed to increase. Men are talking louder and the crowd seems to be moving.
“Where is everyone going?” Deborah wondered.
The crowd was definitely moving and then there were shouts.
“He’s coming!” she heard one man shout.
“Jesus is coming” a young lady says to Deborah and her friend as she runs past them.
The crowd was running away from the market. Debora begins to follow. She’s not running like the others. She was way too weak for running.
Suddenly the direction of the crowd shifted. They were coming back and then Deborah realizes why. Jesus is coming.
The crowd has pressed hard around Jesus. They reached out for him. Many are touching him. Jesus’ disciples are trying frantically to hold the crowd, now mob back. They were too close. There were so many people it was hard to breathe.
There are more and more people coming into the market. Word has spread quickly. Jesus has become very famous. He’s a superstar. Many just want to see him. See what he looks like. Maybe they would get a chance to touch him.
Now the mob is thick around Jesus, forty people deep, at least.
Deborah looks at the crowd.
“How will I ever get close enough to him?” She wonders. She shouts his name to try and get his attention. “Jesus! I need you!” It’s useless. There are way too many people and way too much noise. Almost everyone is calling his name. He can’t hear her.
“What are you going to do now?” her friend asks.
“You better think fast. He won’t be here long. Not with this mob.”
“You know…” Deborah said slowly, thinking out loud”. If I could somehow just touch his clothes, I know I’d be healed”.
“How do you know that?”
“I’m not sure. I just feel it way down inside. I feel belief bubbling around inside of me. Yes! I believe. I will touch his clothes and I will be healed.”
The disciples are trying really hard to get Jesus out of this mob scene. Jesus touches a few sick and they are healed.
“Jesus, if you would stop healing people and walk maybe we can get out of here”, Peter shouts, trying to be heard above the noise of the crowd.
There’s pushing and shoving as more and more people try to get close.
“Get Back!” John shouts. “Get Back!”
Jesus is pushed by the crowd and almost falls. This scene is getting uglier by the moment.
“We may die here”, Peter shouts to John. It’s hot and there isn’t much air. Sweat pours down their backs as they try desperately to get Jesus through this market and away from this mob.
Deborah is surveying the situation; she turns to her friend and says;
“I’m going to touch his clothes”.
“How are you going to get close enough to touch his clothes?”
“I’ll figure that out as I go”
Debora begins her decent into the mob. It’s rougher in here than she thought it would be. There’s shouting, cursing, pushing and now she’s in the outside edges of it. As she tries to squeeze between two men, seeking to get closer one of the men puts his hands on her to push her back. Before he could push she shouts,
“I’m unclean!” It worked. The man looks as though he’s seen a monster. He pulls his hands away from her, ducks the crowd and runs away.
“That worked pretty well” she thought to herself.
As she continues to push she realizes that she’s not making progress. Jesus will get away and she won’t be healed. A decision has to be made. How important is it to her that she touches Jesus?
Her friend continues to stand, alone, away from the mob. She’s watching Debora. It’s not too hard to follow her. She recognizes her clothes. She sees a man running from the crowd. He looks distraught and stumbles like a drunk. He runs to a group of Pharisees who are watching the whole scene with critical eyes.
“There’s an unclean woman in that mob” he says, barely able to get the words out. He’s out of breath.
“Leave us alone” one says to him. “We have much bigger problems that one unclean woman”.
Deborah’s friend, relieved to hear that the Pharisees were not interested, turns her attention back to the mob. She can’t find Deborah. She has blended in.
Having made a snap decision Deborah is on her hands and knees, crawling through the crowd. She’s making progress but it isn’t easy. She’s being kicked, spat on and cursed, by those who are aggravated by her tatic. Her ribs are hurting. Now on top of her other physical issues she’s got a broken rib. Her hands are bleeding from being stepped on but she doesn’t care. She’s on a mission to get healed and is not about to give up.
After what seemed like an eternity Deborah is close to Jesus. She’s tired, covered in dust, spittle and blood. She hurts all over. No longer can she isolate her pain to one area. If she survives it will take her weeks or even months to survive this desperate attempt if she doesn’t get healed or killed.
She’s there. She looks up enough to see the one everyone else is touching. He looks tired. Back on her hands and knees she has determined which legs are his, which clothes belong to him.
“Ok, here goes” she says to herself as she reaches her right hand forward. He takes a step away from her as she reaches to touch his clothes. She almost misses. Her fingertips barely fell across the material.
Something is happening. Deborah feels heat flowing through her body, radiant heat and chill bumps at the same time. Suddenly she begins to notice, the abdominal pain that has been accompanying her bleeding is gone. Her ribs, her hands, everywhere she was feeling pain just moments earlier it’s gone. She looks at her hands which moments ago were raw and bleeding from being stepped on so much. Now the skin on her hands is clear, no abrasions, no bleeding. It’s like the waters part. There’s room to stand. She’s behind him.
Jesus suddenly stops his slow walk and turns to Peter.
“Who touched me?” he said.
“Master we are being mobbed, hundreds of people have touched you and now you’re asking, who touched me?
“Someone touched me. Someone touched me with faith. I felt healing flowing out of me into someone, virtue”.
He turns to see Deborah standing behind him. She is engulfed by the awe of the moment. She places her hands on her abdominal area that had been hurting for so long. He makes eye contact with her.
Deborah knows that something has happened and now she is fully aware that Jesus is aware of her presence. Her hands begin to tremble. Tears flood her eyes. She’s so happy but she’s afraid too. She falls to her knees in front of Jesus.
“I touched you Jesus, it was me”. I’ve been so sick for so long. I felt belief stirring in me and knew that if I could just touch your clothes I would be healed. I touched you and….I’m healed”.
“Stand up” Jesus said. “Your faith has made you whole. Go in peace.
Why did this story make the cut and become part of our Bible? I think the answer is simple. God wants you and I to know that there will be times in life when we will have to act in desperation, motivated by faith. Do whatever it takes. Touch Him.