One of my favorite stories of healing in the bible is the woman who couldn’t stop bleeding. It is found in Mark 5:25, Matthew 9:20-22 and again in Luke 8:43. This obscure woman was desperate….desperate for an encounter that would change her life! The account of her story tells us that “no one could heal her.” However, because she was an audacious woman and resolute within herself, she thought, “if only I may touch the man’s garment, I will be made well….and so she did and immediately the blood dried up and she was healed of her affliction.”
What is so significant about the hem of Jesus’ garment? At first reading, it seems an odd practice. However, once we understand the significance of the hem of one’s garment, these passages will have much more meaning. The word translated, hem, in Hebrew, is tzitziyot. It means fringes or tassels. In the Old Testament God called the sons of Israel to put fringes or tassels (tzitziyot) on the bottom of their garments (Numbers 14:37-41) The woman on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, who came to Jesus for healing, knew this command. She knew that the tassels or fringes represented the law of God, the authority of God, and tied up in all of that are the promises of God. In this account, the tzitziyot, or fringe tassels, were her point of contact, in order for her miracle to manifest. Those fringed tassels represented the word of God which is always the place where we can find healing for all the needs in our life. The fringes also represent the authority of Jesus, that He taught with authority and when He spoke, people were healed. We see in another account in the gospels, that people clung to Jesus and touched His garment. “And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Jesus that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched His garment, were made perfectly well.” Matthew 14:35-36 The nameless woman in the gospels had heard of Jesus. Perhaps she had heard of his power to heal and deliver and remembered the messianic promise that was spoken through the prophet Malachi. I imagine that she remembered these promises…released her faith… reached out…touched…and her miracle appeared! This woman received her healing when her faith touched the power of God, the hem of Jesus’ garment, and she was made whole. I want to be desperate and have faith as this dear woman….that I would know the promises of God so intimately that even the smallest point of contact, can help me release my faith toward God for HUGE miracles in my life and in the life of others. I do not believe this woman had a “hunch” or that she even “hoped” that perhaps Jesus would heal her. No! She had much more than that, she had a promise! Promises from her God about His goodness and kindness to heal His children.
Moreover, there was another element to these fringes that most people don’t know. Another promise, found in the words of the prophet Malachi, “But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings”. The word wing in Hebrew is kanaf, which is a word that specifically means the “fringe-like” feathers or edges of a bird’s wing. Most places in the OT where kanaf is used it is referring to God. Therefore, the place of refuge is under the kanaf of the LORD, under His word and His authority (Psalm 91:1 – “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”) Read the story of Ruth and Boaz. As Ruth went to Boaz and lay at his feet on the threshing room floor, she implored him, “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.” (Ruth 3:9) The word in Hebrew for wing is kanaf. In essence, Ruth was asking Boaz to heal her of her affliction of widowhood and abandonment – to take her as his wife. This was a custom that was known in that culture. Ruth was stating her belief that she knew the power of a kinsmen redeemer, to deliver her of poverty, disorder and ailment. Boaz does indeed take Ruth as his wife and their child, Obed, is in the lineage of Christ. In the New Covenant, through Jesus’ blood, we are taken as Christ’s bride, and His healing virtue is available to cover us, heal us and empower us for abundant life.
Take refuge under His wings my friends. Cover yourself with the hem of His garment….release your faith today to believe that Jesus can and will touch you in whatever area you have need of. The good news is that Jesus died and rose again in order to bring us back into relationship with God our Father. When we discover the true nature of who God really is, then we are able to find out who we are meant to be. Jesus said, “If you see Me, then you have seen the Father.” The nature of the Father is made manifest in Jesus’ ministry on this earth…..Jesus came to put a face on the Father for us. The woman with the “issue of blood” saw the face of Yahweh, the Most High God, in Jesus, the Son of God. And she reached out and believed!