the hem of His robe

The woman bled for 12 years straight.

Physician after physician shrugged his shoulders. She’d given up all hope of ever getting better. But then she heard about Jesus. The miracle worker. Desperate, she knew she had to get to Him.

As she clawed her way through the crowd on her hands and knees, she carried with her much more than her illness. She carried shame. As if in a bag over her shoulder, she dragged along a heavy burden of rejection and fear. She’s referred to as the “woman with the issue of blood”, but her issues ran much deeper than that. Her physical ailment made her an outcast in her own culture.

Her emotional hurts and scars were far worse than her physical ones.

Finally catching up to Jesus, she reached out and frantically, yet faintly, grabbed the hem of His robe. Immediately, she was healed. Jesus turned around and faced the crowd. “Who touched Me?”

She told Him the whole truth. She told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Jesus cared enough to listen to her story. The long version.

He just let her talk.

He was on His way to heal a dying girl. People were rushing Him. Pressing Him. Insisting He keep going before it’s too late. But He silenced them long enough for her to tell her story.

When she finished talking, He responded by calling her Daughter. It’s the only time recorded that He addressed someone that way. The love she felt in that one simple word must have been overwhelming.

After pouring out her heart, He’d responded with pure affection. Gentle yet aggressive love.

If Jesus’ aim was simply to heal her, He would have kept walking after she touched Him, for she was healed instantly. If that was all He was concerned about, He wouldn’t have stopped, turned around, asked the question. He wouldn’t have looked straight at her, talked to her, listened. But He did all those things. He wanted to let her talk. To tell her story. He wanted to call her Daughter.

For that is when her heart was healed.

He wanted to heal more than her body. His aim all along was to heal her heart.

I can picture Him looking her in the eyes as He talked to her. And making her look into His. The healing began as, face-to-face, His love was visible, and it resonated within her soul. It broke down walls. Shattered barriers. Smashed through the defenses she’d lived behind for so long. His love broke through with a simple gaze, a listening ear, and undivided attention.

It wouldn’t have helped if He healed her physically, but left her to still carry the hurt from her 12 years of rejection and disgrace. Despite her physical healing, she probably would have continued to stay holed up in her house. She would have been the same cowering little girl she always was, still dragging her bag of shame behind her. But as Jesus looked into her eyes, He saw the woman He created her to be, and He wasn’t content to leave her drowning in her pain.

The greatest healing isn’t the miraculous cure of her incurable disease. It is the passionate healing of her heart.

God’s primary concern is still the condition of hearts. Physical health and a blessed life pale in comparison with a restored soul. God’s heart hurts for our hurting hearts.

He still brings love, grace, and healing through a touch of the hem of His robe.

And we are the hem of His robe.


34 Responses to “the hem of His robe”
  1. Amy says:

    so good Kitty, so true, such a good word!

  2. Anonymous says:

    wow…i think that was something that i really needed to hear…thanks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have always enjoyed your thought- provoking blogs … and this is one that really gave me something to think about tonight. Thank you for writing … and I praise God for how he challenged me through your words.
    Roo’s mom

  4. danielle says:

    what great writing. what great thoughts. thanks for sharing.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Friend. When are you starting on that book? You have an amazing way with words- you’re so talented. Blessings,

  6. Natalie says:

    This encourages me. If I am the hem of His robe, I need to be willing to move among the people who need healing in their hearts. Love ya.

  7. @ngie says:

    I had never thought about this story in this way. It’s really a challenge to watch the rhythm of Jesus’ life. I don’t know of one scripture (correct me if I am wrong) that he hurried. But I do see various that people tried to hurry him and yet, he tarried.

    And a thougth just occured to me – Jesus was not old in age. Many times we equate an unhurried life with elderly people. But Jesus was young. I think that he was able to walk with a clear purpose. But that purpose was not based in statistics, numbers or percentages. That purpose was people.

  8. annie says:

    This is beautiful, Alece! Very well-written, too, I might add. Beautiful to read. And you’re exactly right.

  9. Graumamama says:

    Such rich truth! It is way to easy to feel like the visible blessing is enough. Miracles are so exciting! But it is the heart change that changes the rest of their lives. It is the difference between giving someone a fish & teaching them how to fish. That real change keep folks sharing their new found faith for the rest of their days. It takes more time, but it is so worth it. Thank you for the reminder to take time with the people who reach out to us.

  10. I am so glad I stopped by to read this now instead of waiting until in the morning. I needed to hear this *tonight*.

    Thank you.

  11. “The greatest healing isn’t the miraculous cure of her incurable disease. It is the passionate healing of her heart.
    God’s primary concern is still the condition of hearts. Physical health and a blessed life pale in comparison with a restored soul. God’s heart hurts for our hurting hearts.
    He still brings love, grace, and healing through a touch of the hem of His robe.
    And we are the hem of His robe.”


    I aim for that level of compassion …. God knows my heart.

    This was powerful, Alece. Thank you GOD.

  12. jan owen says:

    Alece, after walking through some serious emotional trauma as a staff member (suicide of pastors wife and many sad results) I learned that being heard is a huge part of healing. For several years all I really wanted was to tell my story. Not to a counselor, but to a friend. I wanted to tell it beginning to end, to be heard, to not be corrected or told how to fix it or what we should have done. I just wanted someone to listen and to have compassion and to maybe say “I’m so sorry. That sounds horrible.”

    I was told “just get over it”, and “move on”. What people did not understand was the depths of the pain, or even what I had personally had to bear in the situation. I still had healing to do.

    And one day I had a friend say some miraculous words. He said “Jan, I’ve been reading your blog and can tell your church has been through so much. Will you tell me your story?”
    It was amazing to sit and tell it beginning to end, to see tears in his eyes as he listened and to connect some dots I had not previously been able to. But most of all it felt good to be heard. Not fixed. Just heard.

    And with the hearing came healing…….

    • oh my dang, yes. this resonates so much with me. i have found that same healing in simply being heard. and it is truly a treasure to find that friend who wants to listen and not give advice. who wants to hear it from start to finish. who wants to be in the mess with you even in the “simple” telling of your story.

      makes me want to be a better listener. because i know how much power listening-well holds.

  13. Kori says:

    Alece – I found your blog through twitter (I think) and it has become one of my favorite reads. I love your authenticity, your writing and you just seem like one of those people who would be fun to hang out with. I just happened to click this link the other day and it wrecked me – in a good way. That is a story I have heard/read over and over but never like you described and broke it down – it is MY story and so many others. It would take far too long to tell my story here – but I had one of those touching His hem moments about 5 years ago and have never been the same since. My story is about having an abortion – and one of the things that caught my eye in this post was that she had suffered for 12 years – which is the exact timing of when my healing came – 12 years after my abortion. Your words add to the visual of my healing and I am grateful for that.

  14. Melody says:

    Wow. This blessed me so much and brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been dealing with emotional hurt and this really reminded me of Jesus’ love for me and how He thinks looks at me and sees the woman He created me to be. Thanks so much for writing this.

  15. We are the hem… that’s a beautiful, true thought. Chewing on it…

  16. Matt Redman says:

    I wrote a paper on this this summer and a screenplay based on it in undergrad. It’s a powerful story. Maybe someday we’ll shoot the video. You can star in it if you want.

  17. Erica Cooper says:

    Such beautiful words. We are the hem of his robe. I have heard this passage so many times, yet your perspective that we are now the hem of his robe is so true. We are and can be an active part in his healing… how cool is that? God is good.
    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I will be reading this to my Journey Group (6 teenage girls that I journey with) as we have talked about this scripture many times.
    Bless you.

  18. jessica says:

    Since my husband left me and our nine kids the love Jesus has for my heart has been felt magnified beyond anything I knew existed. Finally admitting my husband does not really “see” me either because of the fog from his own childhood pain or the selfishness of a man seeking pleasure above commitment was difficult and lonely for me to admit. To know that Jesus cares so much about my heart and really sees who I am and still likes me and wants my company has been a great comfort. Thank you for posting this. It was a beautiful reminder that just because I don’t matter to my husband I do more importantly matter to a much greater lover, my awesome God.

  19. Jenny says:


    This is absolutely…wow. Gosh, I wish I could say what’s in my heart right this second, but honestly I can’t think how to say it. You have created such beautiful picture of our Beloved…a Savior whose purpose and heart goes far deeper than we can fathom. I love Him so.

    I just stumbled upon your blog via a friend’s. I understand you are taking what sounds like some much time away so I pray that time is restoration for your soul. (And I’ll be catching up on reading your previous posts in the meantime).


  20. such a beautiful reality. The words “daughter” and “stopped to listen to her story,” means so much to me. I’m so glad Jesus calls us his “daughter” and seeks to transform our heart.

  21. love your blog, appreciate your heart. hope this Christmas is full of all the amazing surprises that only HE can give you! blessings, tammy

  22. This has always been and will always be one of my favorite stories in the bible. When He calls her ‘Daughter’, oh my heart just melts, rejoices and responds!

  23. Joy

    Love…Love…LOVE this!
    You are brilliant.

  24. I am so grateful for this post. This gospel reading is the one that “got me” this past summer, that made me break down in Church and caused a close friend to ask if I needed to talk. That talk ended up being 3 hours long. He wasn’t looking to fix the problem, just to hear me and offer some encouragement. It was a beautiful opportunity for me to really look deeper at the issue at hand.
    Thank you for helping me to look back and reflect on what I have learned since opening up this summer

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  1. [...] [originally posted this day in 2007] [...]

  2. [...] always loved the story of the woman with the issue of blood. It vividly reminds me that God is passionate about healing my heart and not just my [...]

  3. [...] hear a word from Him as a reminder of His love for me. I rediscovered this passage after visiting the blog associated with One Word 2011, asking God to give you a word symbolizing your New Year’s [...]

  4. [...] two more valuable insights on this same story, please take time to read these posts by Alece at Grit and Glory and Laura at kebede [...]

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