I have had the privilege of reading an advanced copy of a new book entitled “Remarkable Faith” by Shauna Letellier. It’s a beautifully written book filled with behind-the-scenes stories of people involved in Jesus’ miracles. People the Bible mentions in passing, but doesn’t give us a lot of background or follow-up on. The book is amazing and I encourage you to get your own copy when it comes out in July!
Last night, I read the chapter on the woman who had the bleeding issue for 12 years. This story has always been close to my heart. Shauna’s retelling was just gorgeous and I sobbed through the entire thing!
Then I remembered I had written about it myself, years ago, in Peru. I put together a reader’s theater for a women’s retreat and included this woman’s story. Believe it or not, back in the day, I performed it with a friend, in Spanish. I give it to you here now for your reading enjoyment.
*Please do not use without permission. I would be happy to send you the full script upon request.*
Mary: He touched me! He touched me! Did He touch you? He touched me. Before His touch, no one touched me. And when I say “no one,” I mean, absolutely nobody. No one loved me. No one wanted to come near me. And then He came. He came and He touched me. He touched me when no one else would. He touched me when I was untouchable. And His touch made all the difference.
Woman: He touched me! I cannot believe He touched me. Do you know how long it has been since someone touched me? No one was even allowed to touch me for years! And He – He reached out and touched me. He let me touch Him! And His touch made all the difference.
Mary: There was a time in my life when no one would even come near me. I come from the region of Magdala in Israel. Here, the people worshiped the god Molec. Molec desired child sacrifices. A wicked, evil god. And yet… somehow… I ended up worshiping him, too. Slowly, over time, I allowed his wickedness to penetrate my life. And the real evil one, Satan, invaded mine. Seven demons took control of my life. Seven. With one, you lose your mind. With seven… well, you can only imagine how my life was at this time. No one would come near me. I wandered the countryside – alone. Alone without hope. Alone without love. Alone with no one but my demons to torture me, day in and day out.
Woman: I was sick. Oh, was I sick. The bleeding would not stop! When it started, I thought everything would be okay eventually. But, when doctor after doctor could not help me, I started to give up hope. What’s worse was that it did – not – stop. Not just bleeding for a month. Oh, no. Much worse. Twelve years of constant bleeding. Twelve! We spent our savings trying to find someone – anyone – to help me. We traveled abroad! I tried new remedies! I did anything! But, nothing worked. Bleeding makes a Jewess unclean. For twelve full years I was not allowed to enter the Temple for any kind of festival. I could not even enter to ask Yahweh to heal me! I had no access to Yahweh. Priests could not touch me. My husband could not touch. Any male who touched me would be made unclean. I was alone. Utterly alone. My hope was gone. My life was ebbing away through this constant stream of life blood. Hopeless. Alone. So alone.
Together: And then He came.
Mary: He didn’t just come, though. He came in power! The demons inside me shook from fear which terrified me. I had to know – Who is this Man that makes demons tremble?
Woman: He didn’t just come in power. He came in compassion! Everywhere He went, He exuded compassion. The crowds were enormous! Entire cities would come to see this Man. I needed to know Who the Man was Who healed the crowds.
Together: I had to know.
Woman: Then one day, He came near me!
Mary: One day, He came to me!
Woman: The crowds were crushing. But I had to see Him. I had to get near Him!
Mary: He came to me alone. I was terrified – the demons didn’t want Him near me! They rebelled and almost wouldn’t let me!
Woman: The crowds wouldn’t let me pass! Everyone wanted a piece of Him! I almost couldn’t get near Him.
Mary: He calmed me.
Woman: He paused near me —
Mary: He reached out –
Woman: – and I touched Him.
Mary: He touched me.
Woman: I didn’t want Him to know I was there! I was embarrassed – ashamed.
Mary: I didn’t know what would happen! I was terrified!
Together: But I was so hopeful!
Mary: I knew He could change me.
Woman: I knew He could heal me.
Together: And He did.
Mary: That touch
Woman: That one touch
Together: Made all the difference.
Mary: Instantly, the demons fled! Light entered my mind and I was free!
Woman: Instantly, the bleeding stopped! My body was healed! I was whole! But then… He turned. I tried to get away! I tried to hide! But it was too late. He wanted to know who touched Him. I couldn’t lie. I had to tell Him it was me. Would He embarrass me? Would He yell at me? Would the Man filled with compassion berate me for my simple act of touching the hem of His robe to finally be healed?
Mary: Freedom was awkward. It had been so long since I had lived a normal life. I had left my family. I had served another god! I was so embarrassed. Would He now get mad at me for living such an awful life?
Woman: But… He didn’t. He didn’t even announce to the crowd why I had touched Him. After years of not being allowed near anyone, He came near me. He touched me. The first one to touch me after twelve years was…
Mary: And yet, He was not mad! He never told me what an awful person I was. He never shamed me in front of my family. He came near and He… He touched me. The first one to show love to me and to touch me after years of being alone was…
Mary: Almighty God.
Woman: The Healer.
Together: The Savior.
Mary: And with His touch, I was made whole again.
Woman: I was healed!
Together: Touched to touch others.
Woman: I made it my job to touch the untouchables. To shower love on those who are deemed unloveable by society.
Mary: I made it my job to touch the outcast – to show compassion on those who are cast out by others.
Woman: I knew I had a responsibility to do to others what Christ did for me.
Mary: A responsibility to love on others as Christ loved on me.
Together: No, we are not their Savior. But, we are His hands.
Woman: You are His hands! Touch those who no one else wants to love.
Mary: You are His feet! Go to those who no one else will go near.
Together: One touch is all it takes.
Woman: The responsibility is now yours.
Mary: If God touched your life, you must now do the same for others.
Together: The responsibility is yours.
Mary: One touch. Just one.
Woman: Who will you touch today?
-Lisa Biegert, 2011