touch the hem


I have an audio version of the Bible that I’ve started listening to again as I deliver mail.

I go through spurts…I’ll listen to some self-help courses, listen to some novels on tape, listen to the radio and all the DJs yelling, maybe listen to a language course for a while…learn how to order a taco or something else to eat.

Some times I’ll listen to the “Best of the Doobie Brothers” for a couple of weeks straight.

Right now, I’m listening to the Bible.

Yesterday, one of the stories that I heard was the one where Jesus was in the crowd of people and this woman, who’d been sick for a long time, reached out and touched the hem of His garment, and was healed.

In the audio, it says that He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my garment?” when He felt some of his “virtue” go out of Him.

Of course, she stepped up and told him it was her…and He told her that her faith had made her well.

That is a cool story.  That is very cool.

I listened to it yesterday…I’d heard it often over the years…probably heard it a bunch of times riding around in the mail jeep…but something struck me yesterday for the first time that was kind of interesting.

It was interesting to me, at least.  Maybe it’s been obvious to everybody else for a long time.

It’s kind of hard to say what’s obvious to anyone else.


He knew who touched his garment.  He already knew…out of all those people milling around, bumping up against Him, brushing against His cloak…this one woman steps up and touches Him…and something changed…and He knew.

It wasn’t a situation where he said, “Whoaaaaaaa…hold on here…what just happened?”

“Did somebody just touch me or something?!  I feel kind of weird.”

It wasn’t like that.

He didn’t say, “Awwwwww, mannnnn….they’re getting it for free again.  She didn’t even ask for a miracle…the least she could have done was ask…grabbing onto my clothes like that was the least she could do….awwwww, mannnn.”

He just said, “Who touched me?”


He gave her a chance to recognize what He had done.

Recognizing and appreciating all of it was a big part of the miracle.

“Your faith has made you well.”

That is….a very cool story.

Something else that struck me about a lot of the stories in the Bible is that these people don’t come at it from the same angle we do.

They don’t have a precedent of hundreds of years of worship….singing the songs, hearing the stories, reading someone elses explanation of what anything means.

They don’t have that.

We might say, at this late date, “Jesus?  I’ve heard of Him!  I would be so full on into Him if He came back…I’d be one of the faithful…let the cock crow, I wouldn’t deny Him.”

“I’ve been hearing about Him for a while now.”

Easy for us to say…we have a bunch of years to work up to that.

But how about these people coming at it fresh?  They didn’t know Jesus from Adam.

That’s amazing.

So this woman, sick…chronically sick…, comes up and touches the hem of Jesus’ cloak.

BAM….she’s healed.

What faith she had in Jesus.

And then, even though He didn’t need to, He gives her the chance to fully notice what He’s done…and quietly proclaim Him.

I could learn a thing or two from that story.

I guess that’s the point of all the stories in the Bible, though….right?

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.


touch the hem — 1 Comment

  1. This morning reading Psalm 20, I realized the same thing. The people of God had gathered in the sanctuary, because David [and their husbands and sons] were going out to battle. If they win, their kingdom will be secure. If God is on their side, they have nothing to fear. But if they go it alone, ruin awaits them [like in 2 Chronicles 14 etc]. They had no idea how this battle would play out. We know “the rest of the story.” Therefore, Psalm 20 looses some of its urgency/poignancy. But the lesson is still there!

    Psalm 20 is messianic; King David is a symbol pointing to Jesus. And, Jesus is our leader. So, we could all go to battle together, and intercede for a victory over vulgarity and violence, the twin evils of paganism. We could make our kingdom a safer place for our families!

    Once David, completely trusting in God, had gone up against Goliath, and …killed the giant with a pebble. So he knew the impossible can be done, if God is on your side.

    And, as you reminded us in a great, recent post, God has done many miracles in our lives already. He is on our side. So we should “Be not afraid.” And, we should proclaim Him.