When the Soul Bleeds
"Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6b NIV).
Friend to Friend
When we read the story of Jesus healing the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, it is hard for us twenty-first century women to imagine such a condition lasting for so long. Medical science has progressed far beyond the rudimentary knowledge of Jesus' day. It is simply unthinkable today.
But I suggest there are still many women with chronic bleeding of a different sort. We bleed from the heart.
From the time Sarah was six-years-old, her father crept into her bedroom in the dark of night and violated her little body. Now, as an adult, her heart bleeds.
When Beth was walking to her dorm room from the college library, a man jumped from behind the bushes, and dragged her to a nearby shed and raped her at knife-point. Now, ten years later, her heart bleeds.
After twenty-years of marriage, Lucy accidentally stumbled upon an in-town hotel receipt in her husband's wallet. Suspecting the worse, she uncovered past e-mails, supposed meetings that never occurred and a trail of deceit. When presented with the evidence, her husband admitted having a three-year long affair. And her heart bleeds.
Margaret's routine physical reveals that she has AIDS. She had only been with one man her entire life - her husband. And her heart bleeds.
Laura was laid off from her job and her mother's words re-emerge like sewage leakage from an underground septic tank. "You're no good. You'll never amount to anything. You're a loser just like your father." And because of the lies, her heart bleeds.
Melissa holds her newborn little girl in her arms and coos her to sleep. Interrupting the sweetness of the wee hours of the morning, she hears her aborted child crying from the grave. Guilt presses down as the ever-present weight deflates her joy. And her heart bleeds.
Women - hoping the pain will go away; awakening each day with a memory that cuts a fresh wound. Women - longing to hear the words "Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
The woman with the issue of blood was no different from you and me. While her apparent illness was physical, her inward suffering ruled her life. But in one radical moment, with one momentous decision, she reached out to Jesus and grabbed hold of her healing.
Mark used specific words to describe our friend with the issue of blood. She "suffered greatly" and she was "afflicted." These are the same words that were used of Jesus during his last days on earth (Mark 8:32, 9:12). The same words Isaiah spoke when he prophesied of Jesus' death (Isaiah 53:7). Jesus understood her suffering more than she knew. As the blood flowed from her body and rendered her unclean, Jesus knew the blood that would soon flow from his body to cleanse us all.
He wants to set us free from our suffering, but he will not push us out of the cell. He unlocks the jail cell, but we must walk out the door. We can choose to bleed. We can choose to remain in our suffering and pick at the scabs of the past, but hear me dear friend - it is a choice. Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That's what he wants for each of us. But we have to embrace the truth and, like the woman with the twelve-year-bleeding, reach for our healing.
In John, chapter five, Jesus encounters a lame man sitting by a pool of water where the paralyzed, blind, and afflicted gathered. They believed that when the waters were stirred by supposed angels, the first one in the pool would be healed. For thirty-eight years this man sat in his sickness.
Then Jesus walked up to him and asked a strange question, "Do you want to get well?" (John 5:6b).
Perhaps it was not such a strange question after all. Many times we get used to being sick and wear it like a shroud. motionally we are the walking wounded - victims who pick as scabs - not allowing them to heal.
Jesus said to the woman, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." That is the same healing he offers to you and to me.
Dear God, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I reach forward today, touch the hem of Your garment, and receive my healing. Yes, I want to get well. Give me the faith to walk in freedom and victory.
In Jesus' Name,