Abigail watched as the Gynaecologist reviewed her case note. His head was bowed but she could still read the sombreness of his countenance. He closed the file and no one needed to tell her that he just closed her case.
He was usually a jovial elderly man, his stock of white hair alluding to his uncommon wisdom, but when he lifted his head, every trace of a smile had disappeared.
“Abigail, we have tried all within our power in the last 6 months, but I can’t see any other thing we can do. I will give you some drugs to manage your situation. If things get worse, you can come back to see me.” He wrote out a prescription. “See the nurse, she will give you these and also your final bill. Go with God.”
Abigail left the hospital dejected. How could this be the lot of one person; to nurse a sickness for twelve whole years?
She had no choice but to walk home. Her last penny had gone to pay off the doctor’s bill.
This sickness had to be a curse. It had made her lose everything; the blessings of yesterday and the hope of tomorrow.
It started a year after she got married to James, what a wonderful man and the only man she had ever loved. And she still did, at least the memory of him. She heard he had re-married now and had 4 children, 3 boys and a girl. That could have been her; those could have been her kids. She couldn’t blame him; he had tried his very best for her. For 5 years he stayed, patiently nursing her, hoping she would get better but she didn’t. So he left. Any other man would have done the same. And what right did she really have to tie him down to a life of emptiness.
“Who did I offend?” she muttered.
Within twenty minutes she was home and went straight to the bathroom. Unlike normal people she didn’t have the luxury of taking a moment to rest when she got home, even if she was tired. She had to get rid of the stench; she was accustomed to it but out of respect for others, she took that shower as many times a day as she needed to.
She was lying down on the bed with her heart weightier than ever, when her only friend and room-mate Lydia came in. Abigail sat up abruptly when she noticed her swollen eyes. She had been crying.
“What is it?” she asked, worried.
Lydia sat on her bed opposite Lydia with a far-away look. “He touched me.”
“My sight has been deteriorating daily until I started seeing men walking like trees. The doctor predicted I would be blind in two years.”
“I know all that.”
“I prayed to God. I told him, I am too young to be blind. I didn’t know he was listening. Now I know he heard my cry.” She smiled. “Abigail I can see you clearly.”
“On my way home; the colours, green is so green, … the blue of the sky and so many beautiful faces. I don’t have to squint anymore.” She burst into tears.
Abigail sprang up and sat beside her. “Who touched you?”
“The Prophet. I should have asked for his name. I saw a large crowd with him and he healed them all with just a touch. I joined the queue. When it was my turn, he smiled at me. I didn’t have to say anything, he knew what was wrong. He gently touched his thumbs across my eyes and I felt all the peace of heaven envelope me. I opened my eyes and ….. it was a miracle.”
Abigail put her hands around her friend. “I have heard of Him. He has healed many people in other towns but to think that now he is here. I praise God for you my friend. Wipe your tears and let your joy shine through.
“I too am going to find him.”
“You are? Will they let you through? The people think you are unclean,” Lydia said.
“I don’t care what they think anymore. I was at the doctors today. He discharged me. Gave me Iron tablets and said there was nothing more he can do for me.”
Lydia held Abigail’s face between her hands. “Go quickly my sister. I left him by the sea. Go with God.”
It took one long dragged out hour before she found him. By that time Abigail was weary and worn. She was draining so fast and knew that by now the stench would be abominable. It was only the possibility of the hope of a miracle that made her keep putting one foot in front of another. The desert dust blew in her face and she took a moment to clear her chest from the bout of coughing that followed.
He was walking so fast. At least a hundred people were with him and she was barely catching up. She stopped an old woman to find out where he was headed.
“A ruler of the synagogue asked him to come. His daughter is dying.” The old woman said and hurried ahead.
Abigail picked up courage and followed as hard as she could. The sun shone hotter in the sky. Suddenly the crowd stopped. Some of the men began to serve water from a donkey carrying several gourds.
Here was an opportunity. Abigail summoned all her remaining strength and quietly pressed through the crowd. She trembled as they gave way; if anyone identified her as the source of this odour, she knew they would throw her out.
Now only the disciples stood between her and him. She stood behind him and observed for a moment. He was talking with his disciples and she could see he was busy. It would be culturally wrong for her to interrupt.
Her face fell as she wondered desperately what to do next and then she noticed the edge of his long white garment settled on the ground.
An idea settled. “If I can just touch the hem of his garment, I know I will be healed.”
She drew a little bit closer and quickly dropped on one knee. Slowly but deliberately she stretched her hand between two of the disciples and took that flowing hem in her hands.
In that moment she felt it, it was like a gentle electric shock and the peace of heaven enveloped her. But something more was happening. The flow of her blood stopped abruptly. Her strength returned and she knew, without a shadow of doubt she was healed. She let go of His garment, grateful that no one had noticed.
Quietly she stood; her shoulder much straighter. God had answered her prayers of twelve years in one day. She wanted to jump for joy and scream her praise to God, but this wasn’t the place. She turned and walked away quietly.
“Who touched me?” Jesus said.
Peter gave a short laugh. “Master, there are hundreds of people milling around you. How can you ask, who touched you?”
“Somebody touched me,” Jesus insisted, as he looked around. “I felt power leave me.”
Abigail knew she could no longer hide. She drew closer and knelt at his feet, looking up into that glorious face with boldness she hadn’t felt in years. “It’s me Lord. I touched you. I have been haemorrhaging for twelve years. I lost everything, my husband, family, job. I spent all my money on doctors but they couldn’t help me. I didn’t know how to ask you for help. You were busy just now talking with these men. But I believed sir, that if I could just touch the hem of your garment I would be healed.”
Jesus took her by the hand and gently lifted her up. The glory of His smile was like the combination of yellow sunshine and heaven.
“My daughter, cheer up. Your faith has made you well. Go with God.”
She wanted to hug him, embrace him, anything to show her gratitude. Words were not adequate to say thanks; but somehow she knew he understood.
She turned and walked away; a new spring in her step and a new faith in her heart.
(Luke 8:43-48) The Woman with the Issue of Blood
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