Don't Just Lay There and Die!
by Rev. L.A. Artis
There is a DIVINE MANDATE from the Throne for the Women of God to reach out and TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES! The woman with the issue of blood, I believe, is one of the most misrepresented women in all of the Bible. We often hear her talked about from the moment she appears on the public stage pressing her way to Jesus, but in order to fully understand and appreciate this mighty woman of God, you have to look at her from three vantage points:
1. Levitical Customs & Societal Constraints
2. Her Medical Condition
3. Her Fate vs. Her Faith
According to Levitical custom this woman was to remain secluded until the bleeding stopped at which time she would offer up a sacrifice of purification and then would be able to rejoin society. The fact that she had to withdraw from society revealed her private struggle merely by her absence from society. Each time a woman vanished from the masses, everyone KNEW what she was going through. She was considered not only unclean but cursed because of the flow - because of the ISSUE of BLOOD.
Blood is the stream of life; but losing it meant that she was a woman DYING among the LIVING. Such was never acceptable because it was the belief of the time that anything DEAD or DYING should be left alone. Her coming out while bleeding meant that she was subject to stoning and death. It was the ORDER of the DAY! It was the LAW because Jesus had not fulfilled the LAW by His Death on the Cross! It was the LEVITICAL CUSTOM & TRADITION of the DAY - so in order to even think about coming out from under societal constraints and restraints, she had to decide to BREAK THE CONDITION OF TRADITION so that her CONDITION might be healed. She had to be a mighty maverick! She had to think outside of the box. She had to risk DEATH in order to LIVE!
What was her actual condition? [Theologians say] Menorrhagiah which is abnormal and excessive bleeding. One of the subsequent diseases she [said to have] had was severe anemia, which made her weak, frail, pale and highly prone to other sicknesses, infections and disease. Another subsequent disease [possible] was dysmenorrhea which is the pain from the constant bleeding.
A person's mindset during disease will often determine whether or not they RECOVER! If you believe that every day will not just be like every other day, but will in fact get worse; and that there is NO HOPE for HEALING or TURN-AROUND - well, for as a man thiketh so is he.
In theology, there is something that is called an "IMPLIED TEXT' - in other words, just because something isn't specifically written in the text, based upon the FACTS in the text, one can gather that certain events MUST HAVE TAKEN PLACE. For example, for the woman at the well to have left her waterpot, we can deduce that it meant that she had to put it down and/or thrown it away. In the same sense, there are some things we can gather from the woman with the issue of blood:
1. She was a REBEL with a CAUSE.
2. No matter WHAT she faced and no matter HOW BAD things got, she had to BELIEVE that it wasn't going to always going to be this way - even though her REALITY was that she just kept getting worse and kept BLEEDING HEAVIER AND HEAVIER!
Her FATE was DEATH, but her FAITH said, "I SHALL NOT DIE and if I do, I WILL DIE TRYING TO LIVE!" She is not listed as one of the great SHE-ROES of faith, but it is my earnest contention that she indeed does belong there. She was the kind of a woman that kept her ear to the ground. Somehow in isolation she managed to HEAR! When you can't SEE help coming, if you can HEAR that help is coming, it will fan the flames of faith into an INFERNO - a raging wildfire of FAITH that cannot be stopped. This too is the job of the preacher - to let the hurting know that HELP IS COMING! The woman heard that a HEALER was coming through town. She either found out from one of her many doctors about a man that was upsetting their business because of His willing ability to HEAL! Or, she found out from someone who possibly came and left food for her like an animal by the door for her to pull in and eat in isolation. Either or, her spirit knew that she HAD TO GET UP THAT DAY because HER DELIVERANCE was nigh! How ever she discovered that Jesus was coming her way is really not of the greatest concern - the fact that she heard He was coming and then decided not to just LAY THERE AND DIE is when she gained her healing.
The moment the woman with the issue of blood decided she wasn't going to go out like that was the moment that her FATE CHANGED! Her faith that Jesus could and would started in a BLOODY ROOM ALL BY HERSELF. She had to pick up her WEAK, FRAIL & ANEMIC frame and drag it out into the streets. She had to face people who remembered what SHE USED TO LOOK LIKE and hear them in her eargate talk about how BAD SHE LOOKED NOW! She had to take the last strength that she had to reach out and touch touch Christ.
Jesus had first been summoned to heal the DYING DAUGHTER of Jairus. A young virgin - a damsel. A girl who had LIVED just as long as this woman had been DYING! The reason why the Woman with the Issue of Blood is so significant to the Kingship of Christ is because a regular ordinary Rabbi would have been contaminated by the touch of this woman and would have had to go into the same seclusion that she was forced to live under. He would not have been able to come out until after he too had offered up a sacrifice to cleanse and purify himself before rejoining his sacred duties. But,her introduction into the path of Christ proves that He was not just a mere Rabbi subject to Levitical customs and practices. If He had been an ordinary Rabbi, His healing schedule and His ministry itinerary would have been CANCELLED because He had been touched by a BLOODY WOMAN!
According to Jewish tradition, the age of twelve is when a young girl has her Bat Mitzvah - it is the time in her life when she goes from being a little girl to becoming a WOMAN. In the same text we have one woman who was DYING TO LIVE and a girl who had LIVED JUST TO DIE! The Woman With The Issue of Blood substantiates Jesus' claim to being the Messiah, The Savior, The Deliverer and Spotless Lamb of God for He had no need to STOP MINISTRY TO PURIFY HIMSELF for HIS BLOOD, HIS DEITY & SONSHIP allowed Him to continue to flow in ministry irregardless of WHO TOUCHED HIM.
Women preachers, someone in your congregation, at your next preaching engagement and at your next hour of visitation is BLEEDING TO DEATH. Somebody is waiting to hear YOU declare, "DON'T JUST LAY THERE AND BLEED TO DEATH!" They are waiting to hear YOU tell them that the Messiah is in town because HE LIVES IN YOU! Lay your hands on them and speak WHOLENESS INTO THEIR LIVES. Someone in the pew is a BLOODY mess, but they are just waiting on someone who isn't afraid to touch a bleeding person with an ISSUE!
Rev. Lenore A. Artis
L.A. Artis Ministries, Inc.
About the Author
Elder Lenore Artis, a contributing editor for PreachingWoman.com, is the founder and CEO of L.A. Artis Ministries, Inc. an evangelistic and counseling ministry with a special focus on women and youth. Artis is an award winning poet whose poetry has been featured in literary anthologies. She is also the author of "DARK BLESSING" - a powerful book that reveals the fact that God is with us to sustain us in the darkest of dark times. Visit her website at www.laartisministries.org and at the Official Site of Dark Blessing