Twelve Years Of Suffering

Twelve Years Of Suffering

This powerful reflection can be read dramatically, preferably by a woman, as the story is that of a suffering woman. For added effect, a male voice can read Jesus’ voice (UPPER CASE) from off to one side.

Look! I see a father begging for his daughter, a father in desperation, flinging himself down on a dusty, pebbled road, his knees scraped by stones. His tears seem to sting more than the fresh wounds. His heart seems to ache more than his reputation; after all, he is a dignified synagogue leader, not accustomed to groveling before another rabbi, and a questionable one at that, a rabbi who didn’t even have his own synagogue but wandered around, accompanying traitorous tax collectors and other questionable types.

But why is he pleading on behalf of a daughter? A girl child is nice, but a boy child ? why he’s a treasured possession! Without a boy, you have no legacy. No one will carry on the family name and business; you have no one in the family to explain the blessed Hebrew Torah. A girl ? well, she is good for cooking, cleaning and making babies. She can give an extra hand to help out, but a large dowry will be needed to procure a good future for her. And yes, she will give grandbabies someday. But a boy is better.

So why is Jairus pleading with the Savior for his daughter? A son I can understand… but for a mere 12-year-old girl?

Oh, look! Jesus is going with him. Wait! They’re coming toward me. Jesus has stopped to talk to the people crowded around him. Has he changed his plans? Jairus’ sick daughter was born the year my grievous malady started. Twelve years ago! The flow of blood unending since then! Twelve years of being unable to sleep with my husband, unable to bear another child, unable even to cook for my family, lest I should contaminate them! No hugs from my children. Oh how I miss being touched! Oh, how I miss spending time chatting with the other ladies at the well. If I were to draw water there, I’d infect the whole city. I’m so lonely! And broke! Every shekel has gone to doctors who promised to make me better, but they only made me worse.

I’ve heard about this Jesus. He even touched a man with leprosy! Touched him! The man had begged Him, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus did not recoil from that filthy leper. Oh, I remember the words that He said…

“I AM WILLING.”

Imagine that! He was willing. That was against common sense, and against our Levitical law. I never saw a Rabbi dare to touch a leper. Jesus became unclean by touching him, but Jesus’ healing power passed to the leper, making him clean. The skin lesions went away instantly, and the man was healthy again. He could live with his family again, get a job instead of begging for morsels of bread. At least that’s what I heard.

I also heard that Jesus healed a paralyzed man – in fact, I think that’s the man over there. He’s walking around healed and happy!

I know that Jesus is controversial. He healed a man’s deformed hand on the Sabbath day, and some synagogue leaders said that Satan possessed him. Surely, Jairus knows of Jesus’ disreputable character among his fellow religious leaders! But that doesn’t seem to bother Jairus ? it’s so beautiful that he wants to plead for his daughter. Oh, I wish I had someone who wanted to plead for me, like the men who tore apart a roof to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. My friends have left me.

Jairus’ desperate, groaning cry jars my soul. It is a familiar sound, but long ago I gave up; I stifled the cry of my heart – it hurt too much to hope.

Some people say they merely touched Jesus and were healed… Well, maybe… Maybe I can sneak through this throng of curious onlookers and touch the fringe of his robe. I dare not touch the Master and make him unclean.

I will try. Oh! I hope no one notices me! A little farther…

It is hard to reach him with this jostling crowd pushing me all around. Please, let no one notice me! There!

Oh! What’s happening? Oh! Dried up? My hemorrhage is dry as the riverbed during a drought! As dry as my skin parched by the arid winds of summer! Dry, yet whole. In an instant!

But wait, he’s stopping. Why is Jesus looking around? Oh, listen!

“WHO TOUCHED MY CLOTHES?”

Who touched his clothes? How can he ask that? Clothes don’t have feeling, and there were many people pressing against him – how could he feel me touch the fringe of his robe? He’s speaking again.

“HEALING POWER HAS GONE OUT FROM ME.”

I don’t know who else was healed, but I feel my healing.

Walk on, Jesus ? please walk on! Go use your healing power to cure Jairus’ twelve-year-old daughter. Go on ? please just go on.

Why do you so intently search this crowd? Go! You don’t want this mob to know that an unclean woman touched you! How could you dare to try to heal Jairus’ daughter if everyone knew that you were desecrated by my touch?

Oh, my stomach is in knots ? my knees are weak and tremble. I cannot stand! He’s waiting… I must go to him. I must go forward ? on my knees, like Jairus did. I’ll fall at his feet and confess my act of disobedience and listen to him scold me…

What? What did he just say? No condemnation?

I took a risk, yes, but a desperate woman dares risk – what could I lose? More shame and cruel words? But you, Jesus… before this whole leering crowd that has only maligned and ostracized me… you declare that I’m healed and whole. “Live well! Live blessed!” you say.

No one has spoken so kindly to me. Why…I feel young again! Oh, how good to feel my heart rejoice again! It’s like… well… no words can describe it. I’ve been restored back to my community. Now I can have another child ? a girl I hope!

Oh no! They’ve come to tell Jesus that Jairus’ daughter has just now died. Too late! Oh Jairus – I’m so sorry! Jesus stopped for me and did not get to her in time. Oh Jairus – I will pray for you. But wait! Jesus is speaking to Jairus again.

“DON’T BE AFRAID. JUST TRUST ME.”

He means… He means… Oh Jairus ? you can trust him! Jesus just brought me back to life after twelve years of a living death. He will bring your little girl back ? I’d bet my life on it!

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