Reaching out to touch the hem

By Jan Davis
Special to The PREVIEW
Leah forced herself out of bed. A widow with a frail stature made her undesirable to the men of Bethel. They did not want the burden of a sick wife. The doctors took the small inheritance her husband left without any explanation for her sickness.
Leah gleaned corn and barley in the rich man’s field. She beat the barley and ground the corn to make bread. She washed laundry for the wealthy to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in the market place. Each day was a struggle before she collapsed on her cot at night.
Today, Leah rose early for the tedious walk into town. Yesterday, a neighbor gave her leftover lamb. The scrap meat boiled on a pot over her open hearth. The delicious aroma filled her small home. The addition of a few fresh vegetables would make a hearty stew and provide several meals.
As Leah drew closer to town, she heard loud voices. People pushed their way through the crowded streets. Leah struggled to keep her balance. If she tripped, the mob would trample her in their rush. Why did people seem in such a hurry?
Someone shouted over the crowd, “Here he comes! Jesus, over here!”
Villagers told stories about this righteous man in the fields, at the river and even in the temple. Some called him a Nazarene, the son of a poor carpenter. Others called him a great teacher, Rabbi. His followers called him Master.
Villagers referred to him as Healer. Rumors of how the lame walked and the blind received their sight spread throughout the coastline of Galilee.
Maybe if she got closer. Against all odds, Leah maneuvered her way through the crowd to catch a glimpse of Jesus, every step a test of sheer willpower. Almost, only a few more feet.
A man shouted, “Out of my way,” and shoved her to the ground. She looked up as Jesus walked by. Racked in pain, Leah reached out and touched the hem of His garment.
Jesus turned. “Who touched me?” His eyes searched the crowd.
“Me, Master.” Leah attempted to stand.
Jesus stretched out his arms and lifted her off the ground.
“Today, your faith made you whole.”
Leah kissed his cheek and in a soft voice said, “Thank you.”
She chose a few vegetables from a vendor’s stand and began the tedious walk to her home on the outskirts of town. As she walked, Leah became stronger and her faith increased.
Over time, Leah’s health returned. She still rose early to head to the fields and gather grains for bread. With newfound energy she made extra loaves to barter for vegetables at market. She bought fresh meat with extra coins she received from the laundry.
Leah worked hard, but now with purpose and self-confidence. No longer did her hard-earned money pad the pockets of doctors. She slept in peace free from pain.
God often uses ordinary situations to bless us. The rich man allowed Leah to gather scraps in his field. The neighbor shared leftover meat. Someone’s dirty laundry provided cash for vegetables. It was all orchestrated by an unseen God.
The doctors offered no hope for Leah. Unable to help herself, she reached out to Jesus and touched the hem of his garment. He lifted her up and gave her new life.
Because of Jesus, all our needs are met.
“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.” — Matthew 9:20 (KJV).
I love you, but Jesus loves you more.

This story was posted on June 29, 2018.