“Who touched me?”
The crowd came to an abrupt halt at the words, a murmur of confusion spreading quickly through the throng of people pressed into this narrow roadway. The people immediately next to Jesus pushed themselves away from him, as if denying they had done it.
“What now?” Jarius growled to himself. “This whole thing has been one interruption after another. Don’t you understand, Jesus, that my daughter is dying? We need to hurry!”
“Who touched me? Who touched my clothes?” Jesus repeated.
“Is this man insane?” Jarius thought to himself. “We can barely make any head way through this crowd to begin with, and now we’re stopping to figure out who touched his clothes? Everyone is touching you Jesus. Literally everyone. Let’s go!”
A man Jesus called one of his disciples seemed to be explaining this to him. Gesturing to the large crowd that had been following them to Jarius’ home, the disciple seemed to be pointing out the futility of asking that particular question. His quiet words to Jesus seemed to border on admonishment. It was as if the disciple was embarrassed by his own master’s question. The disciple tried to lead Jesus on by his elbow, but Jesus stayed where he stood, with his questioning eyes searching the crowd.
“We don’t have time for this!” Jarius screamed in his thoughts. “My daughter is dying, my little girl!” He glanced back over his shoulder in the direction of the home he and his wife had shared together with their young daughter, desperately hoping he wouldn’t see one of the household servants approaching. Any news a servant would have at this point couldn’t possibly be good news.
He could still remember the night his wife had first told him that he was going to be a father. He had returned to his home, exhausted from a long day of service at the synagogue. After dinner and a small glass of wine shared between them, the small talk of life sprinkled the rest of the evening as the household chores were completed. As the sun set behind the hills, his wife had lit a pair of candles for them, placed in the simple wooden candlesticks that had been a gift from her family. Neither of their families had much to give when they were married, but they always seemed to have enough for the two of them.
As they walked into the bedroom together, he found himself distracted by thoughts of tomorrow’s work. He prepared himself for the night, being sure to follow all of the required practices of a good Jewish man, and he had settled in to his bed, thoughts still churning through his plans for the morning. It was several minutes before he realized that his wife was seated on the edge of his bed, looking at him with her gentle eyes filled with tears.
“What’s wrong my darling?” Jarius had asked. “Is there something the matter?”
“No, no. Nothing the matter.” his wife had cooed.
“Then why the tears my love? Why are you crying?” Jarius reached up to wipe a tear from her cheek.
“God has been very kind to us.” was her response. “We have not been overlooked.”
“I suppose that is true, is this why you cry?”
Laughing, his wife had nodded.
“You know, I don’t understand you.” he had told his wife.
“Yes, I know.” she had laughed.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“Eventually.” she joked. “Although if I wait long enough, even you will figure it on your own.”
Laughing, he had asked, “How long do you suppose that would take?”
“Well,” she said” I certainly hope it would be less than 9 months.”
Everything had changed for him that day. His well laid plans for the next morning were set aside, and now, 12 years later, it seemed like nothing had been normal since then. After 9 months of hustling around to prepare his home for their child, his daughter had been born, and he still hadn’t found anything to even come close to comparing to the joy of that day. His heart had expanded so much since he had first held her tiny form in his arms. He had never expected it to change him so much.
A gasp from the crowd had drawn his attention back to the present moment. A woman had stepped forward, and at her sight the people around her had parted. She fell to her knees in front of Jesus, bowing before him. Jarius could see her worn and dirty robes, and what looked like dried blood on the left side of her face. The crowd had recognized that she was unclean, and those closest to her pushed back as far as the could from her, lest they be made to present sacrifices at the synagogue for cleansing.
“I’ve bled for 12 years my Lord. No one could help me. I spent everything I had and still I was sick.” the woman cried. “I’ve heard what the people say about you, that you are a healer. I’d heard that you had restored the paralytic and a man with a withered hand. I had to find you. I thought that if I just touched the hem of your cloak, I would be healed. Forgive me for the wrong I have done.”
Trembling, the woman knelt in front of Jesus, her face in the dirt. The whole crowd seemed frozen, awaiting his reply.
Jarius had begun to tremble as well, he could see his servant at the end of the street, making his way towards them.