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!

read it like you’re bleeding

by MonicaSharman time to read: 4 min