Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | March 4, 2015

Meditation for March 4, 2015, The Hem of His Garment

Since my son, Michael, has paused in posting old hymn lyrics, I’ll post a few essays that I call “Meditations.”  You may also find song lyrics here, from time to time.


In one of the most powerful stories of faith and healing, Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of a woman who, as Mark writes:

“… was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” Mark 5:25-29

Jesus was and is the Great Teacher. He used this situation, and this woman’s faith, to teach His followers and all those around him a number of lessons. Remember that Jesus was Jewish and was observant of Jewish traditions. This fact is clearly illustrated a number of times in the scriptures, including a fact quite important to this story.

The woman, whose name is not recorded in the Gospels, would have been unclean according to Jewish law as spelled out in Leviticus 15:25-27. Also, anyone she touched would have been unclean and would have had to be ritually cleansed.

The fact that she touched Jesus in her unclean condition would have drawn strong condemnation from the priests. But remember that Jesus said that He had not come to destroy the laws but to fulfill them. He didn’t criticize her for touching him. Instead, He told her: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The cloak that Jesus wore is important; it was, in accordance with Jewish law and tradition, called a tallit. It was the long cloak Jewish men wore when they went out in public. On the four corners of the tallit were tassels that were a part of the commandment of God to Moses in Numbers 15:37-41. There was more to the story, however, the tassels on the tallit were sometimes called “wings” and biblical scholars point to Malachi 4:2 “…the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.” as a prophesy of Jesus and the healing power experienced by this woman as well as others.

When the woman touched the tassel on Jesus’ cloak it wasn’t just that it was handy. These tassels, called, in Hebrew, tzitziyot, represented obedience to God. They represented holiness.

Jesus was moving through the thick crowds on the way to the house of Jarius one of the rulers of the synagogue. Jarius had come to Jesus and implored Him to heal his daughter.

“Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with Him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him.” Mark 5:22-24

So Jesus was on His way, with an important man, for a vital purpose. The fact that He stopped when the woman touched his garment tells us something else: no person’s needs are unimportant to Him. This was another example of the lessons to Jesus’ followers. When the sick woman’s fingertips contacted the tassel on Jesus’ cloak, He felt her faith through that light touch.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’” Mark 5:30

The disciples were astonished that he asked the question since they were in the midst of jostling crowds pushing and shoving all around them. To them it was if everyone was touching all of them—after all, they were on the way to the house of an important man and probably everyone anticipated that Jesus would heal the man’s daughter.

The woman was desperate, and had heard about Jesus and His healing power. When she found Him, she must have knelt to touch his cloak. In times when we despair and have almost lost hope, and nothing that mankind can do to help us, we can remember what she did. She knelt before Him and reached out to touch him in faith and her faith in Jesus healed her.

Taking action by reaching out in humility, while knowing our own helplessness, is the first part of the formula. Having faith in the healing power of the Lord is the other part. No matter how unclean a person has been, no matter how hopeless, reaching out in faith to Him is the answer to healing.


  1. Oh Lord I am reaching out to touch your garment that you would heal our land and make us whole. As a country, we have fallen far from You and I pray that you would direct our return and make clear our path. I thank you for Thomas and the teaching he has shared and pray a special blessing over Thomas and his family in Jesus name.

    • Thank you, Stephen. I appreciate the prayers and always need them.

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