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He alone was her hope.

She did not desire to be noticed. Drawing attention to herself was not her intention. In her culture, women were regarded as unimportant. But she had a need, a desperate need. She had been ill for twelve years and had spent all she had on medical care, but to no avail, she remained desperately ill and culturally she was declared as unclean. He had come, and she needed His help. She determined to find a way to approach Him unobserved. But this one thing drove her, if not now, if not today, she would surely die.

. He was walking along the roads surrounded as always by a crowd. In such an event, there was always jostling and pushing and shoving to be as near to Him as was possible. She did not want to bother Him or be a nuisance. Not at all. What she did want was to stoop low, reach out and simply touch the hem of His garment, that was all she had come for. Pressing in and with sheer determination and courage she took advantage of a little gap. She leaned in and she got it right! She touched the hem of His garment. She could hardly believe that she had dared to do it and that she had got it right! Then the unimaginable happened. He stopped! Right at that moment. He turned and asked a question she did not want to hear! “Who touched Me?” Those around Him thought this to be a silly question. With such a crowd around Him. He could have been touched by anyone or even many in the crowd. He took no notice of their voices. This was what He was known for. Not answering to crowds but sticking with truth. He knew that someone very needy and very close had touched Him. But had done so intentionally to receive something from Him by faith. He had felt the power leave Him. With great shame and humility she admitted to her touch of His garment. He looked at her and focused all His attention on her. He treated her as an individual and was unhurried to move on with His journey. He listened to her, really listened, as she told Him her dilemma and her need and that she knew He could be the answer to her problem. He did not rebuke her. In fact He praised her for her faith and courage and determination. He put no pressure on her to do something remarkable or to start a new movement for women. What He did do was to affirm her and to make her know that she was of great value. As a woman, as a daughter, she was treasured, accepted and precious. That He was welcoming her and all others equally so. He still does exactly that to this very day. (Read the Gospel of Luke chapter eight from verse forty-two onwards.) August ninth is National Women’s Day in South Africa. I listened to speeches and testimonies and encouragements by politicians and organisations as women who had achieved much and those who had dared to defy the men’s world of careers were lauded. I cried a lot. The reason for my tears is simply this : Women should be loved, appreciated and valued not because they have achieved this, that or the other, but simply because they are women, no other reason required. The ordinary, the selfless, the humble, those out there on the fringes of society who are women are precious, valuable and loved, not because of what they do, but because of who they are. Long before politicians made a political decision to celebrate women, Jesus had already openly shown society God’s view of all women, without needing votes, simply because that is how Christ sees all humanity – no exceptions. No wonder then that I love Him so. The liberation of women did not begin twenty-five years ago, it began over two thousand years ago.

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