by Jan Coles
My name is… Never mind. My name’s not important. What’s important is what he called me. Daughter.
It all started after my last child was born. Like any woman, I bled a little after her birth, just like I had with her four brothers and two sisters. But it didn’t stop.
Even after the sixty-six days of purification, I was still bleeding. Not a lot, but I continued to be unclean. I couldn’t touch my husband, let alone share a bed with him. I missed his embrace. I grieved every time he pulled away from me to avoid becoming unclean himself. I understood, but it was so hard. It was hard for him, too. We had to hire a wet nurse to feed my baby and another woman to care for my other children. I couldn’t touch them. My heart ached to feel the comfort of their arms.
It was difficult to do anything. I couldn’t cook for my family. I couldn’t even go buy food to prepare a meal.
Soon the whole town knew that I was unclean and why. The only time I saw my friends was during their monthly cycles. Praise be to Adonai, their cycles were not all the same. I relished their company. Over the next few months, however, one by one, they all fell away. They were sure I had sinned greatly to remain unclean for so long.
But I couldn’t even go to the synagogue to pray. If I had sinned, how could I atone for my sin when the priests refused to take my offerings. Why had YAWEH abandoned me like this?
Months went by without relief. There were occasional days when the bleeding was less, and I began to hope it would stop completely. It didn’t. It got a little worse every time.
After a year of constant bleeding, I went to a healer. I’m not sure why I waited so long. He gave me some herbs with instructions to make a tea with them and drink it every day for a month. It didn’t help. I went back to the healer. He told me to keep drinking the tea. I kept at it for three months without any relief. I finally gave up when the bleeding got worse.
Over the next twelve years, I went to many healers and physicians. At some point, I lost track of how many I’d gone to. I spent all the money I had on them. Some tried to help. Others were charlatans who stole money from me. Still, others abused me verbally and physically. But none of them could heal me. Instead, it got worse. I became weaker and weaker from the blood loss.
Twelve years. Twelve years of longing for human touch. Twelve years of being ostracized by my community. Twelve years of being shunned by my family. Twelve years of slowly dying—my body and my mind.
Then I heard about a man who healed sick people, restored sight to blind people, and raised people back to life. He even touched unclean lepers. I wanted to go to him, but I couldn’t. I lacked the money and the health to make the journey.
But one day I saw a commotion on the main road through town. This same man—Jesus—was passing through. I was sure he could heal me, but I would never be able to ask for his help. Without stopping to consider the consequences, I dragged myself to the street, determined to touch his cloak. I knew without a doubt that just touching it would heal me. I reached out and felt the fabric of his cloak against my finger. In an instant, my bleeding stopped! I was healed. I knew he had healed me.
My joy turned to panic when he stopped and demanded to know who touched him. I hesitated, hoping he would realize that many people in the crowd touched him as they jostled around him. But he again demanded, “Who touched me? I felt power go from me.”
Fearfully I stepped forward, kneeled at his feet, and admitted what I had done and why. I told him my whole story. He listened carefully and said, “Daughter, you have come with great faith, and now you are healed. Live a life free from your suffering.” I stood there as the crowd moved on.
Daughter! He called me Daughter! Precious to Him! He didn’t just heal me. He restored me. Everyone knew I was fully healed and clean.
I turned to go and heard a familiar voice. A pair of strong arms wrapped around me, and I found myself in my husband’s embrace. His eyes were red from crying. He buried his face in my hair and whispered over and over, “You’re home. You are healed and now you are coming home.”