I’m not keen on being cheek by jowl on the London Tube – I think it’s the nearest I’ve come to that crushing feeling you get in big crowds. I generally like people, but not up too close and personal – the shoving, the unfamiliar smells, unwittingly looking up someone’s nostril etc.
You feel people touching you without meaning to. Jesus knew it as a daily experience.
But there’s touch and then there’s touch. The sick woman today just needs to touch Jesus’ hem, so powerful is his capacity to heal. Her internal condition is painful and shameful, making her a religious and social outcast. The Old Testament scriptures struggle with women that BLEED.
Intentional touch is like a conversation. She asks: He responds. It’s all happening at the subliminal level; he doesn’t see her or hear her – but he feels power going out of him.
IN Mark’s account he desires to know ‘who touched my clothes?’ (Mark 5: 30)
A daft question given the crush…but no. Something has happened. A transaction of faith.
The woman is terrified coming forward.
Using a term of endearment hardly ever recorded in the New Testament, Jesus says ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’
The power of touch and the tenderness of response.
(this post first appeared on http://www.parttimepriest.blogspot.com)