The whole Bible is about helping us to get to know God. When Jesus came to earth, his greatest desire was for us to learn to trust Him. To believe. The story of the bleeding woman contains many encouraging lessons that can strengthen your faith. In this post we will explore five nuggets.
Woman with the issue of blood Scriptures
The story of the bleeding woman can be found in the three of the four gospels. Here are the Scripture portions for each account.
- Matthew 9:20–22
- Mark 5:25–34
- Luke 8:43–48
Each of these Bible authors gives us the same story but with different details and flavors. If you read them all together you will get a rich, colorful picture of this event.
What is the story of the woman with the issue of blood
This story unfolds in Capernaum near the sea of Galilee. Jesus was teaching when he was approached by a man identified as a worker in the local synagogue. He came to Jesus in distress, begging for a visit to his home where his 12 year old daughter was sick unto death. Jesus immediately moved in the direction of this man’s house.
The crowd he was teaching went with him. As he moved along, the crowd got even thicker to the extent that he was almost being suffocated. But while he was on that mission, a woman in the crowd was seeking to be delivered from a 12 year illness. Some say the woman was named Veronica but this information is one of those unverifiable facts.
The meaning of “issue of blood” in this case referred to the woman’s disease which might have been a gynecological problem that specifically caused her to bleed from her womb. Whatever it was, it has lasted for 12 long years.
Her journey of healing took her to every doctor she knew and every cure, whether legitimate or not. (More on this later). Scripture says she was now broke because she had spent all her money.
Jesus was her last hope so she creeped behind Jesus in the crowd, believing that if he she touched his clothes, she would receive healing. And she did.
As soon as she received healing, Jesus stopped dead in his tracks. “Who touched me?” he asked. The woman was both afraid and ashamed to come forward but as Jesus gave her his attention, she explained everything that had happened to her. Jesus responded positively, telling her that her faith had healed her.
Powerful lessons from the woman with the issue of blood
What can we learn from this short story. In this post, I will delve into # powerful take aways that I hope will encourage your faith in God.
1. Faith requires risk
The woman with the issue of blood took a huge risk. To understand this you have to know what the Bible says about a woman bleeding.
Come with me to the Old Testament.
When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. 26 Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. (Leviticus 15: 25 – 27)
In Jewish culture, her bleeding disorder rendered her unclean. Everything and anyone she touched was unclean. According to Levitical law, she was not permitted to handle money or food, or attend the services of the synagogue. She really should not be physically close to anyone and certainly not in a crowd.
What she did, exposing others to her uncleanness was a crime, punishable by law. And this is why she could not ask Jesus for healing openly. Instead, she risked her life to access her healing secretly.
This is one of the more outstanding characteristics of the woman with the issue of blood. Her willingness to go out on a limb. Her willingness was common and difficult to cure.
But she persisted to the extent that she was ready to risk everything. Truth is, the only thing she had left to lose was her life and there wasn’t much to her living anyway because of her illness.
If you find yourself in a desperate situation like this woman, maybe safety isn’t where your breakthrough lies. Put some skin in the game! Take a risk. Step out in faith.
2. True faith arrests God’s attention
Have you wondered, like the disciples, how in the world Jesus knew that the woman with the issue of blood touched him?
When Jesus asked “Who touched me?”, the disciples thought that this was a ridiculous question. Afterall, he was in a crowd. Everybody was touching him. In fact, the word that describes the crowd really means that Jesus was being suffocated.
As he walked, he could hardly breathe because they were pressing so close to him. How then did he discern this particular touch?
Let’s do a brief word study.
The word touch comes from the root word hapto which means to fasten to or to cling to. When Jesus asked “Who touched me?” he was not referring to the act of someone putting their hand on him. In fact, the story did not even say she touched Jesus. Actually, she only touched his clothes. Yet Jesus asked “Who touched me?”
What Jesus really asked was “Who clung to me with their whole being in unwavering faith?” You see, this woman was in a desperate situation. And this was her absolute last option and opportunity to escape her situation. So of course she clung to God in faith.
Many people in the crowd put their hands on Jesus but this bleeding woman was the only one who truly touched Jesus. Her faith was so powerful that it reached God more deeply than anyone else in that crowd.
Jesus did say he knew that someone touched him because power had gone out from him. The faith in her connected with the Heavenly Power that cannot but honor authentic faith.
3. God’s attention to your faith is not divided
The woman with the issue of blood teaches us that when God gives us His attention, he is never multitasking.
A faith as deep and unwavering as this woman’s not only earns God’s attention but it also secures His undivided attention. After the woman identified herself, Jesus zoomed in on her.
Jesus listened intently as she told her story. He listened as she described the shameful, disgraceful burden she had held for 12 years, the scorn she had suffered, the loneliness she had been bearing and the desperation she felt.
Despite the crowd, it seemed that no one else existed in those moments. There is no detail about how long it took for her to tell all that she had experienced. But it did not matter.
Jesus did not hurry her along although a little girl was on the brink of death. It’s not that he cared less about this little girl. Jesus did not need to hurry. He has life and death in his hands.
At this moment, his daughter needed him. He was fully present for her.
4. God works with imperfect faith
The woman with the issue of blood had faith but it was mingled with superstition. When she reasoned “If I touch the hem of his garment…” this referred to the popular superstitious belief that a person’s powers could be transmitted through their clothes.
In Jesus’ case, when she talked about the hem of his garment, she was talking specifically about a particular Jewish practice. Every devout Jew wore four blue tassels on the fringes of the four corners of their outer garment.
This signified that they were a chosen people and the tassels served to remind them daily of whom they belonged to. It was one of these tassels that she wanted to touch.
But notice Jesus’ response to her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you…” In stating this explicitly, he was addressing her superstition. He wanted her to know that there is no power in clothes.
The real power was in her faith in God. It was through her faith that she received healing.
Although Jesus knew that her faith was mixed with superstition, he met her where she was. Her faith was accepted, even in its imperfection. It is interesting that she received her healing even without Jesus consciously interacting with her. It just demonstrates God’s nature. Even imperfect faith moves Him.
Do you want to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment? Know that it’s not about what you are not or what you aren’t doing right in your life. It’s about where your heart is in your interaction with God. Jesus valued the authenticity in her faith while redirecting her away from her superstition. God will do the same for you.
You don’t have to be perfect in your faith to access the blessings of heaven. But you do need to have that deep, abiding faith that God will do what He says he will do.
5. When Jesus heals, it is complete.
Faith is one of those spiritual disciplines that permeates all aspects of life. This bleeding woman was experiencing untold anguish across all areas of her existence.
Because of the Jewish rules about bleeding and the social stigma associated with being diseased, she was not able to enjoy healthy human relationships, whether romantic or otherwise.
She was isolated from her religious community. There was a belief that illness was God’s way of punishing people so there is a great chance that she was shunned by her family and disowned by her father. As a woman in that society, this was an extremely vulnerable place to be. She had no one to cover her or speak up for her.
This is perhaps one reason why Jesus calls her daughter: to indicate to her that she had been restored. For so long she was an outcast. Ostracized. Defined by her disease. Her self-worth would have been trampled on. The isolation would have caused her to get used to being invisible in society.
But Jesus assures her that she belonged to Him. She might have had no one to cover her but now she did. She didn’t have anyone to defend her but now she did. She was unwanted but Jesus claimed her openly.
Her physical healing, coupled with her new found identity in Christ, would now allow her to resume social interactions, participate in worship services, get a job, get married and even have children.
And there is more.
Jesus says to her “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” This final command really translates “go into peace.” This really meant that she not only received physical healing but it also meant that she received salvation.
That day, her soul was saved. The peace that comes with the assurance of salvation was to be hers from now on. She was given the rest that Jesus promises to those who trust Him with their whole hearts.
When God heals, the entire life is affected because faith spans all aspects of our being.
Prayer points on the woman with the issue of blood
Trusting God is simple yet it is so difficult a lot of the times. But hey, if life isn’t easy, then why would our faith journey be? That’s why we have to stay on our knees. As you consider the story of the bleeding women, pray for:
- Courage to take godly steps of faith
- Strength to push through difficult situations to access a miracle
- Knowledge of things that might be standing between you and your faith in God like erroneous, superstitious beliefs
- Strength to give God your complete attention just as He gives his complete attention
- Daily peace and assurance of your personal salvation in Jesus.
Be encouraged by woman with the issue of blood
This is such a moving story. In the beginning when we are introduced to her, all we feel for her is pity. But by the time the story is over, we are rejoicing with her. There are so many lessons we can learn from the experience of the bleeding woman.
God rewards those who stretch toward heaven in complete faith. He responds to authentic faith, even if imperfect. His attention is never divided for those who trust Him. And when God heals, it is complete, touching every area of life, even to eternity.