Christianity and the Problem of Human ViolenceChristianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Part 127: Healing and Faith - The Woman with Perpetual Bleeding
from Guide to Kingdom Living

True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth.

Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Part 127: Healing and Faith - The Woman with Perpetual Bleeding

By Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

The story of the woman with perpetual bleeding provides important insights into the nature of healing. I will quote the version of Luke: "And a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by any one, came up behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased. And Jesus said, 'Who was it that touched me?' When all denied it, Peter said, 'Master, the multitudes surround you and press upon you!' But Jesus said, 'Some one touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me.' And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace'" (Luke 8:43-48; see parallel, Mark 5:25-34).

According to Jewish law, menstruating women were unclean and could not touch anyone or be touched. When Jesus asked who touched him, she was afraid, because she feared Jesus would be angry about the violation.

However, Jesus did not express disgust or revulsion; rather, he said only that he sensed power going forth from him. Jesus' healing significantly drained his energy, because it involved more than eradicating disease.

Healing the physical component of disease usually requires relatively brief time and attention. However, holistic healing involves psychological and spiritual assistance, and therefore it usually demands far more effort. The holistic healer must become attuned to all aspects of the sick person, not just the dysfunctional tissue or organ.

The woman was compelled to confess, because she knew that Jesus would identify her. However, in addition to acknowledging her act, she declared that she was healed. This, I think is what Jesus recognized as her faith.

Though he had participated in her cure, he did not say that he had healed her. Instead, he observed that her faith had made her well. She had been perpetually unclean, but her healing involved more than cessation of the blood flow. Her faith made her well in a holistic sense, and this inspired her to publicly declare that Jesus had healed her.

I think this story illustrates an important point about disease. "Dis-ease" is a state of mind in which one is discontented with some aspect of bodily dysfunction. One can have a dysfunctional body and not be dis-eased, and one's body may be functioning quite adequately yet a person may experience dis-ease. Everyone has spiritual needs for a sense of direction and purpose in life, which often involves a sense of connection to God. If our spiritual needs are not met, then we are prone to suffer existential anxiety and guilt and, consequently, to feel dis-eased, even if our bodies work well. The woman's faith made her well enough to align herself with Jesus, and she was prepared to "go in peace."

I do not think that Jesus would have withheld healing from those who lacked faith in him. The faith that helps heal the body, mind, and spirit is a faith that the divine cares about the cosmos, including all afflicted individuals.

Go on to: Part 128: The Gerasene Demoniac - Did Jesus Kill 2000 Pigs?
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