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The Bleeding Woman

2010 February 9
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by Julie Clawson

I love my church. And I love that it isn’t afraid to explore the difficult issues – and figure out how to do so in loving ways. We just finished a series that was designed to start the conversation about how the culture of patriarchy has harmed our faith. The point wasn’t to promote negativity, but to acknowledge wounds, remove the limits we have put on God, and move forward in more holistic and inclusive ways as a church.

This past Sunday we focused on how Jesus embraced women and other marginalized people – no matter who they were or what they had done he offered them a place at his table. We told these stories from the point of view of those Jesus reached out to and included. It was a beautiful and emotional service, as we affirmed that all were welcome and loved by Jesus and at our church. For it, I wrote a piece based on the story of the bleeding woman Jesus heals that I also wanted to share here. –

The Bleeding Woman

I’d gotten used to the bleeding. And the weakness that went along with it. But it was the loneliness that consumed me.

For twelve years, my body has unnaturally bled. At first I thought it was just my monthly courses run long, but then it didn’t stop. I tried to hide it from my family of course, smuggling out the dirty rags to wash down at the river. But nothing gets past my mother. When she found out she just gave me that look, you know the one, the one that told me that I was a complete failure – worthless. Whatever was she going to do with an unclean daughter?

At first they tried to take me to doctors. Always the Roman doctors, not the Jewish ones – they didn’t want it getting out in our community that I was unclean. The doctors were more than willing to take my parents’ money, but nothing they did helped. The bleeding just continued – and I grew weaker and weaker. When it got to the point that I was too weak to even help my mother with the chores, my father had the idea to marry me off as quickly as possible. I assume he knew that my condition would be discovered, but then I would be another man’s problem.

I’m surprised I survived the night my husband found out the truth. I think I passed out sometime after the third blow weak as I was. The next thing I knew he had thrown me at my father’s doorstep – demanding payment for the humiliation of having been given worthless goods. My father, of course, denied knowing anything at all – calling me a deceptive harlot, spitting in my face, and saying that I was no daughter of his.

Now everyone knew I was unclean. No one could touch me, and everything I touched or anywhere I sat immediately became unclean. No shopkeeper would allow me near his wares; no housewife would allow me to pause to catch my breath on her doorstep. I begged as best I could for the occasional bite of bread, as my condition even barred me from the profession most desperate women end up turning to. No one wanted me.

So like I said, I got used to the bleeding and the weakness, but the loneliness got to me. No one’s touched me for nearly twelve years. Oh, I’ve been spat upon and received the occasional kick from daring young boys – but no hugs, no shoulder to cry upon, no sister to help braid my hair. And it’s been that long since I’ve been allowed in the synagogue as well – to raise my voice in praise to God or hear the precious words of the Torah read. I am as invisible and worthless to God as I am to everyone else.

But then I heard rumors about a rabbi who could heal the sick and even raise people from the dead. Now, I’d been to my fair share of doctors and magicians who had claimed they could heal me – but somehow I knew this man was different. I don’t know how I knew, but something deep inside gave me hope that this time I could finally be well.

It took me a few days though to work up the courage to approach him. I knew I could never ask him outright for healing – I doubt any rabbi would heal a woman who broke the taboo of speaking in public to a man. And I was sure he would despise me for making him unclean if I even came near him. So I knew that my only option was to secretly approach him. If he truly was a holy miracle worker, just touching the hem of his cloak should be enough. I was good at slipping quietly through crowds; I just prayed my touch would go unnoticed.

I saw him hurry through the streets following one of the important synagogue leaders. His disciples were pushing the crowds away to help him through, but I knew that if I did not seize this opportunity, I may never get another chance. So I slipped through the crowds until I was close enough and then I reached out my hand and lightly brushed the edge of his cloak. And I felt a power course through me, I felt alive and full of a strength and energy I hadn’t felt in years. I knew I was healed. I wanted to shout for joy, I wanted to tell the whole town that I was clean again. But I knew no one would believe me, and I needed to quickly get away from this Jesus before he noticed me.

I was slipping away when I saw him stop in his tracks, and my heart sunk. He knew. He called out “who touched me?” His disciples laughed at him, they were in a crowd there were dozens of people touching him. But he asked it again and I knew my worst fears had been realized. I had risked it all for this one chance, and now I would be punished for my desperate attempt. I wondered if in his anger he would just whip me like the other men I had accidentally touched or if he would reverse my healing – condemning me to isolation for the rest of my life.

I knew I had no choice, so I threw myself at his feet, trembling in fear as I awaiting his punishment. I couldn’t even bear to look at him. I stammered out how I so desperately wanted to be well and how I knew that just touching his cloak would heal me, and that it did, that I was finally well. And I apologized over and over again for my brazen actions, hoping he would understand just a little why I dared make him unclean.

But then everything changed. You know when there’s that moment when your world shifts? This was it for me. He didn’t yell at me, he didn’t beat me. He didn’t even walk away in disgust. Instead he walked towards me and knelt down at my side. And then, and I will never forget this, he placed his hand on my shoulder and said “Daughter, your faith has healed you go in peace.” My own father had rejected me and no one had touched me in years, and here this rabbi blessed me and called me daughter. That touch, that word healed me more than just stopping the bleeding had. For the first time in years, I felt accepted and loved – I felt whole again.

Jesus looked past the names and labels that my culture had imposed upon me, and healed my wounds. He gave me a place at the table.

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27 Responses leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010

    Very nice.

    Thanks for sharing this creative exploration.

    The model of holiness in so much religion is separation and distance. The model of holiness in Jesus is God’s holiness, and it is inclusion, healing, reaching out. The unclean become clean in the presence of God’s living presence. May we all model this in our daily lives, finding wholeness and bringing others to the table in wholeness as we join in the Spirit’s work.

  2. February 9, 2010

    This is one of my favorite stories from the NT and you do it great justice here exploring the loneliness — not something I had really dwelt on before. Thanks.

  3. Aaron permalink
    February 9, 2010

    This simply confirms everything we fear about AntiSemitism among “Christians” today. This is the most bigoted garbage I’ve read in months. You show a blatant ignorance of Halacha and a such an obviously intentional desire to misunderstand Torah that its no wonder we cringe to think that its part of your Bible at all. The hatred against Jews in this piece is just seething – of course it suits your purposes that you invent Jewish characters that beat people, abandon children, condemn. That just fits into your wonderfully convenient Christian view of Jews so well. Your insulting view of the Laws of Separation could have come from nowhere any less conservative than the Southern Baptists at least. Pat Robertson would be pleased. Beyond that, you even force yourself to misrepresent your own scriptures for the sole purpose of demonizing Jews. This story is about the woman’s faith, not how evil and bigoted the Jewish people are. If you want a story about cultural views, the good Samaritan is the clear choice, but no, by corrupting this one you find just one more way to portray Israelites as hatemongering, violent savages. Way to perpetuate intolerance, Miss Clawson. Maybe if you opened your eyes from beneath your white hood you’d realize that our religion isn’t so much worse than yours, and, G-d forbid, as much as you want to make the Chosen People out to be nothing but villains in your stories and your churches, Jews are people too.

  4. February 9, 2010

    Aaron – I’m sorry you felt the need to project your own issues onto my intentions here. This had nothing to do with bashing Jews, but I doubt there is anything I could say to convince you of that. Peace.

  5. Aaron permalink
    February 9, 2010

    Miss Clawson:
    A woman of peace does not invent characters of a culture to beat and disown another person. A woman of peace does not perpetuate the obvious and age-old straw man of “evil” (in this case violent) Jew versus perfect Jesus
    A woman of peace does not take the Torah of a G-d her own religion claims and make the time-honored traditions of another culture out to be primitive and hateful.
    Your writings make evident that you are a woman of incendiary speech and a racist disposition toward the Hebrew people, hardly one of peace.
    All of this, from someone who claims to follow a man who warned substantially about wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    I highly doubt you would be so quick to so freely embellish a story which involved the creation of violent and angry people of African, Islamic, or, G-d forbid, Caucasian descent.

  6. James Camp permalink
    February 9, 2010

    @ Aaron: I know Ms. Clawson relatively well, and she is no anti-Semite. Any misrepresentation of first-century Palestinian Pharisaic Jews is probably accidental and certainly incidental to the telling of her story, which focuses much more on the experience of a woman who has been treated like “worthless goods” for over a decade…an experience shared by women the world over in a variety of patriarchal cultures for quite a long portion of human history. It certainly plays up a number of stereotypes for effect, but I do not read it as a slam on the Jews, and certainly not as a pat-on-the-back for those who (a century or more later) called themselves Christians. The hero of the story is, after all, presented as a Jewish Rabbi. I read it as an exploration of the effect one person who dares to treat people as God intended can have on those people who have been mistreated by those who lack that sort of courage.

    All that said, if anyone has acted like a bigot in this comment thread, it is you, given all of the anti-Christian invective you managed to hurl at Ms. Clawson in a much more direct way than any of the anti-Semitism you accuse her of. Perhaps in the future, in the interests of building interfaith understanding instead of spreading more ill-will, you could offer us your better understanding of halacha, of the definitions of “clean” and “unclean” as those who Jesus of Nazareth interacted with would have understood them, and how the young woman with the hemorrhage would have experienced those laws in the common practice of the time. Your words might be argued with, I don’t know, but they certainly would be better accepted as part of the conversation.

    That way, we could all learn something from one another beyond “Jews and Christians still see their common history through a lens of mistrust and misunderstanding”

  7. Aaron permalink
    February 9, 2010

    @Mr. Camp: I would love to offer a more receptive crowd the my small portion of the wisdom and tradition of the people to whom your believed messiah belonged. For one, while there are numerous mitzvot that deal with people in a more harsh sense, it is the general consensus of Rabbis, secular academics, and all but the most conservative of Christian theologians that the mitzvah in question in the story from which this libelous writing is so freely derived was of a medical nature. The unclean (which, except in the blind Christian misunderstanding of Torah, does not equate with “sinful”) individual in question was set out from the community so as to prevent the potential spread of what in many cases was surely communicable disease. This woman’s parents, her community, hardly reveled in her departure nor cursed her, but did simply what they had to do to avoid potential epidemic. Despite the fact that this is the historical, rational, and accurate application of this bit of the Torah, the bigoted author if this site has already once accused me of “projecting my own issues.” Obviously, I am “projecting” my clearly false and helplessly ignorant Jewish opinion onto what was once Jewish law but now is the purview of Mrs. Clawson and not the Jewish people. I can only assume that she would find some other way to marginalize any opinion offered other than her own – including the above about Halacha and especially any views which I express. She portrays Jews as violent, hateful, and primitive people. What worth could my opinion be?

    I cannot control what kind of self-indulgent Antisemitism in which Mrs. Clawson chooses to engage herein. I can ensure that she and her site are listed with the ADL, and given the nature of her clear and obvious hatespeech and the dismissive way in which she marginalized objections thereto, I see clearly the benefit of doing so.

  8. February 10, 2010

    Aaron – false accusations, threats, and true hatespeech like you are spewing here are not welcome here. In your anger you aren’t even bothering to try to converse. If I need to block you I will. You have the choice to either engage in mature dialogue or withdraw from the conversation.

  9. Patrick Oden permalink
    February 10, 2010

    Aaron, so what you’re saying is that Julie is unclean and deserves derision and being reported to authorities? Deserves being cast out and away?

    Ah.

    It’s not anti-semitism. It’s a story about human behavior that has parallels in just about every community and every society. Especially so in churches which have forgotten how to reach out to the outsider and discarded.

    If the nature of God’s response is to offer healing, hope, and grace–then it seems those who seek to argue in his name would reflect these attributes.

    It is also pretty clear in Scripture that a big part of Jesus’ response to religious leaders of his era was based on the fact they were misguided in their understanding of the Law, too strict on certain points, and not responding according to the original intent. He constantly made points that pushed against separation as a sign of holiness, offering healing and inclusion instead.

    Out of anger and rage, however, people with good intentions try to fight for God, making separation and anger into a religious cause. And this was seen then, this is seen now, and in every culture and every religion.

  10. Aaron permalink
    February 10, 2010

    Firstly…
    @Patrick: Sir, do you even know what “unclean” means? I have not once said that Mrs. Clawson deserves to be cast out or away, nor that she is clean or unclean Also, I find it laughable that you consider the Anti-Defamation League to be an “authority” as you say – they are merely an advocacy group, with no authority or jurisdiction whatsoever. Who is doing the attacking now?

    I will spend no more time with this website. My objection to what was written here, which I see as Anti-Semitic, was the creation of characters not portrayed in the original story who were violent and discriminatory toward an ill individual, and a blatant corruption of Jewish Law from what it is (protection of the populace from disease) to what Mrs. Clawson wants it to be – a harsh and intolerant religion illustrated by harsh and intolerant people in her story who cast the woman in the story off like trash.

    There is nothing, nothing at all, in your scriptures which said this woman’s father passed her off in a false marriage, or told her that she was worthless. Nothing to say that her family was ashamed to go to Jewish doctors, nothing to say that her husband beat her or that her family thought she was a “complete failure.” Mrs. Clawson invents the idea that she was treated this way by Jewish characters, and this is what is Antisemitic.

    False Jewish characters, spitting in people’s faces, disowning children, who were created to be villains, so that they might contrast with the author’s idea of Jesus, this is Antisemitism. Mrs. Clawson makes it very clear that she finds the Laws of Separation, whether they be the niddah or those regarding illness, to be equivalent to saying that someone is “worthless.” This is a lie. It is simply a falsehood – this is not what the Laws mean, nor what they have ever meant, and espousing the idea that someone who is merely unclean is hated by the Jewish people is Antisemitic, there can be no debate about it. This is akin to saying that whenever a woman menstruates, or whenever a man ejaculates, even involuntarily, then they are suddenly worthless, terrible people. Jewish Law has never, never said that people unclean for medical reasons, be it an illness of blood or any other situation such as those mentioned above, are worthless. Moreover, sources quite contemporary with the composition of your New Testament make clear that this was very obviously not the view among Jews at that time. However, despite all of this, Mr.s Clawson chooses to invent a world where Jews detest someone vilely for the simple fact that she is unclean – when all women are unclean once each month and all men are unclean at least as often, if not far more so.

    The Laws of Separation, while spiritual like all mitzvot, have as any decent Rabbi or scholar will tell you a very real and practical medical purpose. In a time when none of the world had any idea about infectious disease, the Hebrews were given from G-d a list of conditions which could very well be symptoms of communicable illness, and they were told to separate themselves from these people. These people are not sinful necessarily, but they were unclean. You would all agree, I hope, that someone who has the flu, or a cold, today, is unclean – that person is infested with and harboring the growth of germs, the very definition of unclean even in the modern scientific sense. Why would G-d want unclean people away from the community? It should be obvious to any rational individual. Certainly not to demean these individuals or to say that they should be hated, but to protect His people from epidemic. In fact, G-d charges the priests themselves to oversee certain categories of quarantined individuals. Would He do this if His law meant to remove them of their value as human beings? I certainly haven’t seen the Pope, or the central leader of any other Christian sect, checking up on the communicably ill, yet this is what G-d demanded of Cohenim and Levi’im. I’m sure none of you today would want your children playing with a child who was afflicted by Tuberculosis or Ebola. Then, by the logic which the author espouses in this piece, you must think that those sick children have no value as people, because you want your children separated from them. Or, perhaps, as G-d wants His children separated from uncleanness, would you still value them as people, but be concerned for your own child’s welfare? This is all painfully obvious to a clear view of what the Torah says. However, rather than represent Halacha respectfully or validly, with the respect that I would hope would be shown to the culture of another ethnicity, Mrs. Clawson mocks our traditions, and the Commandments set down by the G-d you claim, and makes Jews out to be hateful because they were cautious that they not possibly become infected with what was in many cases, perhaps in this woman’s, perhaps not, contagious disease. Doctors, then, and hospitals, by having infectious disease wards, must think that all patients restricted to such wards are worthless wastes of life. Surely not. However, despite the fact that setting a sick person apart from the community in ancient times is the exact same as today limiting someone to an infectious disease ward, somehow it is not a problem for modern doctors, but it warrants the portrayal of ancient Jews as intolerant, hateful, violent, and evil. This is the Antisemitism that I see, that is very real and very frightening in this story.

    Also, this woman was NOT outside of the town, as is the case with those who were quarantined, in Mrs. Clawson’s erroneous view, ostracized. The woman was within a large crowd of people, was WITH those people, not ostracized from them. As those who were removed from the people could not freely pass back into cities and towns, it is reasonable to assume that she may not even have been removed from the people, despite her illness. However, it is convenient for Mrs. Clawson to overlook this fact, and to portray her still as entirely alone and unappreciated.

    Further, your scriptures say nothing about what the illness this woman had actually was. It never even says that the “issue” of blood from her was vaginal, which Mrs. Clawson also assumes and invents. It becomes suddenly more clear why quarantine might be necessary if, in fact, she had been bleeding rectally, as the “issue” of blood would have been clearly contaminated with excrement, from her mouth, or from open wounds, for those twelve years.

    Ironically for Christians, viewing Halacha validly would have a positive effect for your Christ, as it would make Jesus obviously unafraid of and immune from contagious disease in approaching this woman. However, this fact is also lost on Mrs. Clawson, or at the least omitted.

    In regard to your response that these multiple points of antisemitism were not your intent, madam, I quote…

    “Jesus looked past the names and labels that my culture had imposed upon me”

    Thus, you say yourself that the point was not that the woman was ill, but that her (Jewish) culture had treated her so terribly. This simply is Antisemitism – there is nothing, nothing in your scriptures that says that she was treated unfairly, nothing that says she was labelled or named in some harsh way. If she were healed by Jesus, then you must also say that the Cohenim “look past the labels that the culture imposed” when they monitored the progress of quarantined individuals – yet they were the very culture that you accuse of imposing such labels.

    Finally, it is you Christians who believe that Jesus was in fact the same being as G-d. Ironic, then, that G-d would look so harshly upon Laws which He Himself instituted through Moshe. The biggest oversight in all of this is that you fail to realize that to set someone apart from the community is not an act of terror or hatred, but a mitzvah from G-d, just as “Do not steal,” “Do not murder,” or “Do not worship idols.” It is not a cultural idea, a false label, an attack. Unless, of course, stealing, murder, adultery, and idolatry, and all the rest of the Commandments are okay to break, too, and the idea that these things are bad is just primitive Jewish culture.

    Madam, I am not making false accusations, and I am not making any threat save that when I witness hatespeech, I point it out to a group interested in protecting people from stumbling over it. This shall not force you to shut down your website nor have any impact upon your ability to tell your own audience on the web whatever you wish, no matter how far from the meaning of Jewish Law that it may be. However, the portrayal of the Jews in your story, as well as the way in which you equate the mitzvot with evil and contrast them with your own religious figure, is clearly biased against Jews whether you meant it to be so or not. I did not mean to “rage” or “spew,” but for you to turn a blind eye to the content of your work and its view by and impact upon people of other cultures is irresponsible, and, if intentional, racist. I hope that, if you indeed did not mean to be antisemitic with what you wrote, that you in the future try to be less culturally insensitive with your writings.

  11. Brady Bragg permalink
    February 10, 2010

    While I do see that some elements of this heartfelt reading were presented with poetic license, I do not find them to be anti-Semitic. Of course I am only a Christian who has engaged with Jews for many years and visited Israel five times. It is hard to argue with precision the full parameters of Jewish culture in Jewish Jesus’ time. However, it is not far fetched to say that women were held in an inferior position to men at the time – not just in Jewish culture. What Ms. Clawson addresses is the significant ways in which Jesus reached out to the marginalized of his day, while also addressed the hypocrisy of those who were smug and full of self-righteousness.

    Further, today I know that more religious Jews do indeed violently oppose one another at times in modern Israel because some of them see themselves as better than those who do not practice Judaism as they do – i.e. dressing a certain way or driving in orthodox areas on the Sabbath. I do not mean to disrespect Judaism, but let’s just be honest about the facts. So all is not peaceful today any more than it was 2000 years ago, wouldn’t you agree?

  12. February 10, 2010

    The Further Adventures in Missing the Point…

    Thank you for sharing the illustrative story you have created, Julie. It is unfortunate that the prophetic voice is so often met with hatred, but if it weren’t for hatred, there would be no need for the prophet. Thank you for the willingness to choose suffering so that others might not have that choice forced upon them.

    • Julie Swafford permalink
      August 20, 2014

      Very well said in the light of all the other comments. I am very sorry that a great number of them were so off the point and angry, but that comes with the territory of public forum.
      Thank you, Julie, for your compassionate and we’ll written story.
      This has always been one of my favorite accounts in scripture. Mark chapter 5 account especially.
      I am reading this page in the research I am doing on this story, in fact.
      Aaron, though I saw a lot of anger , pain and hate in your comments, I also gathered a lot of info to add to my research. Thank you for that.
      I appreciate all that I have gained here from each of your comments.
      May GOD bless each of you with true peace and His close presence.

  13. Alison Spencer permalink
    February 10, 2010

    This is the first time I have read this site. I was merely searching for more books by Julie Clawson. So please forgive me for jumping in at such an odd conversation. I think this is a decent example of what happens when one takes the word of God, and retells it in their own way. I find Miss Clawson’s telling to be uplifting and as mentioned, heartfelt. I do see Aaron’s point though. By taking a biblical story and not just retelling it but changing it and tweaking it, for lack of a better word, causes one to create characters as evil or villains, which although Aaron has over exaggerated the term antisemitic, it is true that the author of this story left us believing Jewish society to be ugly. I understand this was not the intention, and it was certainly not the moral of the story, however, Jewish society has, perhaps accidentally, been portrayed in this retelling as heathens. I’m not going to agree that this piece is antisemitic. After all, Jesus was a Jew, and this was acknowledged in this retelling. But I will say that perhaps we should continue to retell the stories of the great book the way they were written, rather then creating our own versions. Miss Clawson may have never meant to offend anyone, but it did, and I personally see how Aaron feels about this, especially because the Jews in this story are made out to be villains, without any evidence from the original text. Although Miss Clawson does fascinating work, she is not a profit, and therefor should be careful on presenting stories from the scripture.
    With that aside, I apologize for intruding. I was just researching the author a bit for any other works she may have done.
    God bless each and everyone of you folks.

  14. February 10, 2010

    Ancient Jewish culture would not have been as harsh toward women as the surrounding pagan cultures. Nevertheless, that aspect of Julie’s re-imagining rang true. Do people really not know how women were treated in the ancient world?

  15. February 11, 2010

    As others mentioned, this was about Patriarchy not Jewish culture. Stories are expanded to give today’s audience a glimpse into history that we are not readily familiar with. No one is assuming that all people were like this back then, but there is enough historical evidence to know that this story is not uncommon. This story is even happening today around the world. Christianity Today had a recent article on this passage which highlighted not only the historical ancient near-east culture but also women in Africa that have bleeding issues after a stillbirth that are treated in many of the ways I mention (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/january/17.48.html). And the wife of the famous poet T.S. Eliot suffered from constant bleeding, leading her family and him to condemn her to a life of insane asylums – the early 20th century version of kicking someone out of town for being unclean. The remnants of Samaritans today still practice purity laws with homes have a separate apartment where women must hide during their period. Women being despised and harmed for the natural functioning of their body is just as common as them being raped or beaten for showing the wrong amount of skin. This isn’t an ethnic issue, it is the horror of a patriarchical system that elevates men above women and treats women more like objects than people. It corrupts true religion, and becomes an idol in place of God. Any culture can fall prey to it, and many cultures have beautifully fought it. No one culture is perfect or above reproach when seen through the historical lense.

  16. February 12, 2010

    This is exceptional Julie.

    Wonderful artistic license. I can feel this.

    fwiw:
    I’m not anti-Semitic in the least. I’m an artist, who has done some limited traveled in the (Arab) Middle East; and with all due respect, I find this story all too plausible given some of the shared cultural mores. Perhaps if it was written in a Christian-Arab context, any reading-into the heart and intent of the story would be perceived as more palatable from certain viewpoints. From my perspective, your writing has never betrayed anything but gentleness, and I see this post as no different. Peace

  17. Barbara Griffin permalink
    February 17, 2010

    Julie,

    Thank you for your words. God has put me on a journey of believing the oneness of us all. We are all One with God and we have all been created perfect, complete, and lacking in nothing. When we remember who we are, we will have all that we have desired. I have begun to bleed irregularly. I have been to the doctor before, but I wanted to wait this time and be willing to believe that God could heal me. This morning He kept insisting that I read the story of the bleeding woman~so I googled Jesus and the bleeding woman and came upon your story. Thank you~the words were what I needed this moment.

    Defenselessness is strength. It testifies to recogniztion of the God in us.

    Love,

    Barbara

    Love,

    Barbara

  18. Amanda Royale permalink
    March 8, 2010

    @Scott Morizot

    “Ancient Jewish culture would not have been as harsh toward women as the surrounding pagan cultures.”

    Am I understanding this statement correctly when I translate it to mean that you believe pagan cultures treated women MORE harshly than patriarchal society?

    If I am, are you kidding?!?!

    I apologize Mrs. Clawson (or is it Ms.?) for having to address this issue, as enough debate has been dumped on this post (and to me it was a beautiful rendition, full of poetic license, from a view point that isn’t normally told). But as a practicing “pagan” I must address this comment.

    In ancient pagan cultures, as in modern ones, women were revered, their images worshipped alongside men in a beautiful partnership representing the duality in all of nature. How else do you explain the prevalence of goddesses in EVERY ancient culture predating the rise of the patriarchy? To goddesses of hearth and harvest, love and birth, to those of war and death, they stood proudly beside their male counterpart, where they still stand in the hearts of many such as myself.

    In fact, historically, the fall of dual-based religion, and the subjugation of women themselves, was with the rise of monotheistic, male-dominated religion.

    I don’t know where you get your information, but you might consider varifying your sources and educating yourself a bit further.

  19. Amanda Royale permalink
    March 10, 2010

    That’s not to say that I believe all who follow patriarchal religion subjugate women. That would be stereotyping an entire population, of which I certainly know not all.

  20. February 4, 2011

    I really loved this would you mind if i shared it on my blog? I would love to encourage people by your words!

  21. Prakash permalink
    October 8, 2011

    Wonderful Julie…You presented well. God bless you.

  22. Jenny permalink
    February 17, 2012

    Hi, I would just like to say that I relate strongly to this story from the new testament as only 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Von Willebrands Syndromen (a genetic bleeding disorder) which answered so much for me about my life amd the continual bleeding that I had to deal with. The constant exhaustion and feeling self conscious about the bleeding that was often occurring more days than not in the month. Yes, loneliness was an issue, because other women could not comprehend what you were going through. Thankfully I have subsequently had surgical treatment and now am able to more actively pursue my career as a nurse at the age of 51yrs. I feel the anguish in this story and how Jesus acknowledges how severely a woman is affected by this disorder. Thank you.

  23. Low Beng Guan permalink
    September 12, 2012

    Very encouraging. There many people are struggling. The need the touch of the Lord.

  24. The Prophet permalink
    May 9, 2014

    REPENT!!!! Or Roast In Hell!!!

  25. June 29, 2015

    VERSES IN THE BIBLE RELATING TO THE ISSUE OF BLOOD

    1 Leviticus 12:7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
    2 Leviticus 15:25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
    3 Matthew 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
    4 Mark 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
    5 Luke 8:43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
    6 Luke 8:44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

    HEBREW MEANING OF ISSUE OF BLOOD

    ISSUE: HEBREW 2101

    zowb
    zobe

    from ‘zuwb’ (2100); a seminal or menstrual flux:–issue.

    BLOOD IN THE HEBREW MEANS JUST THAT BLOOD! 1818 dam
    dawm

    So this account in the gospels is clearly talking about a woman having an issue of blood and it being menstruation issue

    This is Leviticus 15:25 in the Torah/Hebrew Bible
    25 And a woman whose flow of blood flows for many days, outside of the time of her menstrual separation, or she has a discharge after her menstrual separation, then all the days she has her unclean discharge, she shall be unclean just like the days of her menstrual separation.

    This is Leviticus 15:25 in the King James Version Bible
    Leviticus 15:25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.

    Again, we are clearly talking about menstruation issues here.

    These are the verses from the Torah in Leviticus Chapter 15 that clearly explains the Mosaic Law for menstrual discharges/issues.

    25And a woman whose flow of blood flows for many days, outside of the time of her menstrual separation, or she has a discharge after her menstrual separation, then all the days she has her unclean discharge, she shall be unclean just like the days of her menstrual separation. כהוְאִשָּׁה כִּי יָזוּב זוֹב דָּמָהּ יָמִים רַבִּים בְּלֹא עֶת נִדָּתָהּ אוֹ כִי תָזוּב עַל נִדָּתָהּ כָּל יְמֵי זוֹב טֻמְאָתָהּ כִּימֵי נִדָּתָהּ תִּהְיֶה טְמֵאָה הִוא:
    26Any bedding upon which she lies during all the time of her discharge, will have the same [uncleanness] for her, as the bedding of her menstruation. And any object upon which she will sit, shall become unclean. like her menstrual uncleanness. כוכָּל הַמִּשְׁכָּב אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁכַּב עָלָיו כָּל יְמֵי זוֹבָהּ כְּמִשְׁכַּב נִדָּתָהּ יִהְיֶה לָּהּ וְכָל הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר תֵּשֵׁב עָלָיו טָמֵא יִהְיֶה כְּטֻמְאַת נִדָּתָהּ:
    27And anyone who touches them shall become unclean; he shall immerse his garments and immerse [himself] in water, and he shall remain unclean until evening. כזוְכָל הַנּוֹגֵעַ בָּם יִטְמָא וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד הָעָרֶב:
    28And if she becomes clean of her discharge, she shall count for herself seven days, and after this, she may be cleansed. כחוְאִם טָהֲרָה מִזּוֹבָהּ וְסָפְרָה לָּהּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְאַחַר תִּטְהָר:
    29And on the eighth day, she shall take for herself two turtle doves or two young doves, and bring them to the kohen, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. כט וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי תִּקַּח לָהּ שְׁתֵּי תֹרִים אוֹ שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי יוֹנָה וְהֵבִיאָה אוֹתָם אֶל הַכֹּהֵן אֶל פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:
    30And the kohen shall make one into a sin offering and one into a burnt offering, and the kohen shall effect atonement for her, before the Lord, from the uncleanness of her discharge. לוְעָשָׂה הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הָאֶחָד חַטָּאת וְאֶת הָאֶחָד עֹלָה וְכִפֶּר עָלֶיהָ הַכֹּהֵן לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה מִזּוֹב טֻמְאָתָהּ:
    31And you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness, so that they will not die on account of their uncleanness, if they defile My Sanctuary which is in their midst. לאוְהִזַּרְתֶּם אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִטֻּמְאָתָם וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ בְּטֻמְאָתָם בְּטַמְּאָם אֶת מִשְׁכָּנִי אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹכָם:
    32This is the law for one who has a discharge, and one from whom semen issues, through which he becomes unclean, לבזֹאת תּוֹרַת הַזָּב וַאֲשֶׁר תֵּצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת זֶרַע לְטָמְאָה בָהּ:
    33And for a woman who has her menstrual flow, and for one who has a discharge, whether male or female, and a man who cohabits with an unclean woman.

    So Julie is just giving an account of her perspective of some of the things this woman went through and even from reading it in the Torah, we can see that this woman was clearly considered unclean and would make others unclean around her even by sitting where she sat. There is no antisemitism here nor ever intended. It is sad to see when one is offended and sees offenses that were never there or intended and then they become dark in their own hearts and spew hatred themselves all in the name of saying others are spewing hatred.

    Julie, I just want to say, I think you really captured the pain and turmoil this woman lived with for so long and she had faith enough to go impromptu to Jesus believing that He could heal her and change her life forever. Thank you for sharing your work here.

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