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.” Mark 5:21-
Do we as Christians take the time to understand what it means to have independence? Is it not the freedom to worship in a way that allows us to build a personal and independent relationship with God – a relationship of love, faith, and hope, separate from any controlling body – a relationship where we trust God’s love, have faith in his authority over all other ruling “authorities”, and hope for our children and our children’s children? However, in this day of valued independence, how do we dare to become dependent? Mark’s Gospel tells of two events surrounding two separate individuals, one an unknown woman suffering 12 years from constant vaginal bleeding and a named synagogue official, Jairus whose 12 year old daughter is nearing death. Both, at some point had the means to seek help from physicians and elsewhere, but the woman has now spent all she had and Jairus, perhaps reasoning that spending more money clearly will not heal his daughter. What ever the reason it seems clear that both are at their wits end, and both are now seeking Jesus and for good cause. If Jesus is whom others say he is, their efforts are not in vain. If he isn’t then neither is any worse off. Except, that the quality of life for the unnamed woman, perhaps never reaches its fullest manifestation, not because she is any less of a woman, but rather because of the expectations surrounding the role of women in biblical Palestine. In fact what we do know about her and the particular situation in which she finds herself, I believe expresses her desire to fully participate in that role but is limited by misperceptions of the purity laws within the culture of her time. Ultimately she has two choices, accept and live in the misperceptions or seek her independence from the misperceptions, begin to believe in what God has promised and break through towards a new life.