Did you hear the one about.....? Did you hear what so and so said? I heard she....No, I heard he....Have you heard anything? What have you heard? I heard they said....then I heard they said.....
Lots of hearing going on and talking about what is being heard, but who knows what's really being said that's true? A lot of people can hear one person say something and a lot of people can hear what that one person said in a lot of different ways.
I find that is true in my own life. I hear a snippet, either by voice or a quick glance at the newsfeed and my mouth is off and running about what I "heard." It must be true if I heard it or read it online, right? I certainly didn't hear it the wrong way. Right? I couldn't hear things through my own filter, could I? Might we all be hearing things through our own filters of circumstance, experience, age, and present moment?
In any case, sometimes what we hear is relative to what we want to hear. Or don't want to hear.
Sometimes, and I'm only confessing my own guilt to this, but sometimes it's easier to hear what I want to hear rather than really hear what is being said. It's hard to take time to really listen to all that's being said and listen objectively. I have that problem, maybe you don't. Maybe you can hear through an objective filter, but when I'm in need or passionate or prideful in my own ideals, I hear what I want to hear.
It's only later, when a little time has passed and the heat of the moment has fleeted away like they always do, like a vapor in the wind, that I can sit back and re"hear" what I didn't hear right the first time, through my clogged up filters.
Maturity helps me do that. I don't get as spun up as quickly as I once did. But when I do, I think, at least I hope I do anyway, I try to practice more objective hearing over filtered hearing. It takes time to listen that way. So much more time than I really want to give or have to invest.
But sometimes when we hear about something or someone, and depending on our need, we seek out what we heard about it. We google the new sure fire diet promising to let you eat as much as you want whenever you want. We fill in that browser search bar with the latest of whatever it is we "heard" so we can find out for ourselves if it's true. And if it's on Facebook or Twitter, certainly it must be true!
Long before there was instant access to the latest discussion, the only way you heard about anything was by someone telling you via spoken words to actual physical ears.
Can you imagine? The only way you would ever hear that someone had done something or said something was by playing the telephone game, before there were even telephones! News traveled by word of mouth only. (Now there were written messages, but only those who could read would be able to decipher what was written, so that cut the population of "hearers" to small numbers quickly).
But there was this woman, and this is what happened to this woman who met Jesus. This woman, "had been subject to bleeding for twelve years." If this were you, that means since 2004 you would be dealing with a bleeding problem. To bring the men in, let's just say whatever pain or issue you may be suffering right now, imagine that you have dealt with it every day since 2004.
Since 2004, we have elected two Presidents. Since 2004, I personally, have watched all three of my children graduate high school, college, get married and have held two grandchildren.
In all this time, 12 years, these are the changes I have experienced.
So this woman, whom the Bible says "had been subject to bleeding for twelve years..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."
Twelve years, living her life as life changed around her, had this thing, this bleeding going on right along with her. But what made it even more difficult for her was that she lived in a culture which made it even more painful and difficult. Because of her culture, because of the laws she lived under, she was banned from entering her place of worship. She couldn't be touched. She couldn't be hugged. She couldn't hold her children, if she had any. Anything she touched was considered unclean. Anything that touched her, her clothes, or her bedding were considered unclean.
This is what the law said, "If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. Whoever touches them will be unclean; he must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening." (Leviticus 15:27)
She had years of a discharge beyond her period, not just days.....years.
In her Jewish culture, the Jewish people were still living under those laws. So if you can imagine, imagine what that meant for her in her home, with her family, her husband, children, parents, friends.
Take a minute and imagine what it would be like to be untouchable since 2004.
"When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak...."
Now, this wasn't a private encounter. It was crowded. People pressed around Jesus, so there was a lot of touching going on. A lot of people were being touched by an unclean woman and didn't realize it.
But this woman, "touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."
She knew the risk she was taking. By touching the man she had heard about she was making him unclean. But she touched him anyway, because "she had heard about Jesus."
She knew she was doing the opposite of what she was supposed to be doing. She shouldn't have been out in that crowd so close to those who would be considered unclean if they knew who was touching them.
But she had heard about Jesus.
She didn't read about him on the internet or look him up in People magazine. She heard about him.
I wonder, what did she hear that made her risk so much?
So, I ask you....
What have you heard about Jesus? Have you heard about Him? If someone were to be listening to you talk about Jesus, what would they hear about Jesus through what they heard you say? Crickets? Anger? Hope?
I don't know how all this went down. I don't know if anyone knew who she was or the suffering she had been enduring for twelve years. All I know is that, "Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering."
She heard about Jesus. She went to the source to find out if what she heard was true and she found out that whatever she had heard about him worked for her.
So what have you heard about Jesus?
Here is what I heard about him and found out for myself is true:
He heals. He restores. He comforts. He renews. He frees. He loves. He forgives. He laughs. He cries. He hurts with me. He is strong when I am weak. He strengthens me when I'm too weak to walk. He blesses me when I doubt. He gives me hope when I feel hopeless. He makes a way when the way is dark.
Those are just a few of things I've heard about him and found out for myself are true.
What have you heard about Jesus? Isn't it time you found out for yourself if they're true. Who knows, your twelve years may soon be a memory.
Go ahead, touch him.
Reach out and touch him, just use the tip of one finger if you're afraid, but reach out.