read it like you’re bleeding

hem, garment, Jesus, issue of blood

Written by MonicaSharman

Bible teacher, home educator, freelance editor. I delight in the Word, and in every word. My deepest desire is to know God more and more intimately.

October 20, 2012

hem, garment, Jesus, issue of blood

Something about this woman drew me to her. I wanted to be her friend and probably would have pursued that friendship if I ever had a chance. Though I never knew her, she taught me a pivotal spiritual lesson—a Bible-reading lesson. I wish I knew her name.

If she were still alive, the doctors probably would have ordered a hysterectomy. Surely, under their care and medical knowledge, her bleeding wouldn’t have continued for twelve years.

A hemorrhage that lasted twelve years. Have you read her story?

Sometimes, I pretend I’m a film director. (I do this when I read the Bible.) So then, I’m sitting in my director’s chair with Ray-Ban sunglasses on my head. The movie clapper is open and ready.

I say, “Camera. Action!” (Clap!)

Then I start reading. I’m reading—watching God’s Word play out.

I ask myself, if I were to make a movie of this part of the Bible, how many actors would I need? Who’s in this story? What’s the scene? What set do I need to build? Where would be the best location for this shoot?

What does it sound like?

What does it smell like?

And even, what does it taste like?

You need a good while to read a Bible story like this. You really have to take your time, to read it slowly, to close your eyes, to go back and read it again. Soon I’m no longer the director but one of the actors. And I love it. I love to put myself in the story. I read as if I’m this woman. I read as if, like her, I’m bleeding.

So, reading the story this way, I noticed some things about the woman in Mark 5:24-34.

  • I guessed her hemorrhage was a woman’s ailment—something that (in my day) would call for a gynecologist visit.
  • She went to one doctor after another, after another. I’m sure her doctor visits were nothing like mine; she didn’t sit in a waiting room with several magazine choices. Her exam room had no Georgia O’Keefe paintings on the walls, no sterilized vinyl table complete with rolled-out white paper for extra cleanliness, no disposable gloves on the doctor’s hands.
  • She spent all her money on these doctors. No health coverage.
  • After seeing the doctors she not only remained uncured—she got worse.
  • When she heard about Jesus (I love that phrase!), she went after Him.

In the story, she touched just the tip of Jesus’ cloak, power came out of Him, and her twelve-year-long hemorrhage…stopped. Right then. She touched Him and was healed.

Then I noticed this, too:

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

“You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

(all quotes are from Mark 5:24-34)

Everyone was touching Him! The whole crowd was touching Jesus, jostling Him, crowding around Him, yet no power went out from Jesus except for the woman. No one else who touched Him got healed (and I imagine others in that crowd were sick)!

That’s when I thought, it’s just like reading the Bible.

Not everyone who opens the Bible will feel its power and be changed, just as not everyone who touched Jesus that day was healed.

But this woman touched Jesus intentionally, expectantly, and with faith.


When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak…

(What’s more intentional than a woman pushing her way through a thronging, pressing multitude to get to Jesus?)


…because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes…

With faith—

“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.

If I approach God’s Word the way the sick woman approached Jesus—intentionally, expectantly, and with faith—then the power of the Word will come out. How I approach the Word determines what I get out of it.

Have you ever read God’s Word like this? What was it like for you? What did God teach you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Resources (and two giveaways!)

For more on how to approach the Bible, read my favorite article on Bible reading: Open-Heart Bible Study, by Jean Fleming, available in Discipleship Journal’s online archives.

Book giveaway details: Discipleship Journal’s Best Bible Study Methods is a compilation of articles that can help you read the Bible in the way I describe above (and many other ways!).

I would love to put a copy in your hands. To enter your name in the drawing, leave a comment below. I’ll give away two copies by randomly choosing two names from the comments. May you know God better and grow in hunger for His Word!


  1. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    “Intentionally, expectantly, with faith.” I’m going to write those words on a post-it note and tuck it inside my Bible.

    Bless you, Monica. You’ve blessed me here, today, with this.

    • Monica Sharman

      Blessings back atcha, Sheila. You’ve blessed me, too, by coming by here.

  2. Beth Werner Lee

    I do that! I imagine myself with a hidden unsolvable condition, coming to Jesus, but not secretly. That’s where I’m different, because I come begging! But love his response to bless her, Go in peace and be healed from your suffering.

    • Monica Sharman

      I love Jesus’ response too, Beth. Peace and healing. And the fact that He stopped in His tracks to ask persistently, “Who touched me?”

  3. Sandra Heska King

    Oh, Monica. I love this. I love this story. And I love thinking about you sitting up there in your director’s chair with your sunglasses and clapper in hand.

    I think about how much this woman risked in her desperation just to step out into the public and touch Him. And as a nurse, I wonder what doctors and what did they do? Because really, was she not unclean?

    I wrote a reflection about it here:

    • Monica Sharman

      Yeah, I thought about the uncleanness, too. And how, for twelve years, she couldn’t do all that the unclean couldn’t do…

  4. Betty Randall

    Good Morning Monica,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this today. Really needed to be reminded — WITH FAITH!!! Thanks.

    • Monica Sharman

      Good morning to you too, Betty. Yes, with faith!
      Glad to make your acquaintance.

  5. David Rupert

    I never thought about all the others touching him. Most were touching him for the ‘fame’ , just to be seen and and to able to have bragging rights. But this woman touched Him because she had no where else to go…That’s powerful

    • Monica Sharman

      Yeah, different kinds of (and motives for) touching. That moves me to examine my own motives. Thanks for being here, David. I always appreciate your thoughtful mind.

  6. Leslie Rowe

    good and meaty stuff to chew on. Thanks.

  7. Erica Hale

    Beautiful, I love this! Monica, you have a gift for sharing ways to get deep into the Word, let it sink in.

    • Monica Sharman

      Thanks, Erica! This is one of my favorite parts of the Word. Thanks for being here.

  8. Laura Boggess

    Monica, you teach me so much about Bible reading. I love these sweet words of advice! Thanks for sharing some of your secrets with us–I still need to invest in some multi-colored highlighters 🙂

    • Monica Sharman

      Laura, I love seeing you here. Thanks for your companionship…and for the things you teach me, too.

  9. Monica Sharman

    How I would love to sit in and listen to you all.

  10. Monica Sharman

    Congratulations to Beth and Erica who will receive Discipleship Journal’s Best Bible Study Methods! Thanks, everyone, for coming by here.


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read it like you’re bleeding

by MonicaSharman time to read: 4 min