And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him, and touched the border of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will get well.” Matthew 9:20-21 NASB
The first time I read the story of the woman touching the hem of His garment, I could see it in my mind. Faith moved into action as she extended her arm. Desperate for healing yet trusting fully in the one she reached for to be her healer. She was a woman who believed in Jesus Christ. Then, with an ever so slight brush of the edge of his cloak, power left Him and gifted her everything her heart desired. By her faith, she was healed.
In Leviticus 15:19-33, we learn that the mosaic law considered anyone who bled to be an unclean person among the Jews. When someone was unclean, no one was allowed to touch them or they would also become unclean. Should an unclean person touch a clean person the once clean person would have to wash then wait seven days before participating in a ceremonially cleaning on the eighth day. Not only was that person now considered unclean but the rags/garments worn during that time were also considered filthy. Perhaps this woman we read about in Matthew 9 knew that if she did indeed touch the Messiah he would be considered unclean among His people? Or perhaps in the presence of our Savior, she felt completely unworthy?
The truth is — we are all unworthy.
Isaiah 64:4 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.”
Romans 3:10 says, "As the Scriptures say, 'No one is righteous -- not even one." Stepping into the life of this Jewish faith-filled woman we also learn that she knew the Holy Scripture. She knew the stories of God and her people the Israelites. She knew Exodus 19:4, which says, "You know what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings (kanaph), and brought you unto myself.” Surely she must have also known about the coming Messiah as told in Isaiah.
The word “kanaph” or wings is also used in a rabbi’s prayer shawl. The shawl was made with pure white wool to symbolize purity. Uniquely woven at the ends of the shawl were tassels with a blue and white stripe. Better know as the wings of the cloak. The blue was extracted from a gland of the murex snail found in the Red Sea. They call this shell a treasure of the sea. Once the gland was removed, it was dried fully then pulverized to a fine power. The process of drying and grinding the gland created a yellow dye solution. They would then take the wool fiber and dip it into the solution and place the newly soaked fibers in the sunlight for the oxidation process. The sunlight would eventually turn the once pure white fibers into a beautiful blue color. Israel blue. Heavenly blue. However, if the dipped fibers were placed in a dark space to cure then the fibers would turn the color purple.
Do you remember the rich man named Lazarus in Luke 19 who robed himself in purple and fine linens? He couldn’t repent and leave behind all of his possessions to possess the one thing he needed most - Jesus. While this short Bible reference teaches us about a woman who had faith in Jesus it teaches us so much more.
We cannot save ourselves!
And that moment in our own personal journey when we fully realize that our attempts of fixing ourselves is like filthy and unclean rags, we spiritually touch the hem of His garment. It is only by faith in Jesus we can be saved.
Matthew 9:22... “Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “Your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” Written by Glenn and Heather Lamp, 2021
Size: 18 x 24 x 1.5 IN
Title: The Wing