The story of the woman with the issue of blood can be found in Mark 5:24–34 and other books in the gospels. Though neither account is very long, Mark’s account provides a few more details.
The story of this woman takes place within a larger story. Jesus is on his way to a synagogue leader’s house to heal his dying daughter, when an unnamed woman causes an interruption to His progress. Mark 5: 21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He 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.” 24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him.
What we know about the woman is, first, she had a bleeding condition, and the issue had continued for twelve years. That’s a very long time. Second, she had spent all her money on treatments from many doctors, and nothing had helped; in fact, the blood issue had only grown worse. Mark 5: 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 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. We also know that Jewish Law declared her to be ceremonially unclean due to her bleeding issue (Leviticus 15:25-27). This meant that she would not have been permitted to enter the temple for Jewish religious ceremonies. According to the Law, anything or anyone she touched became unclean as well. The fact that she was in the crowd pressing around Jesus means that each person who bumped into her would have become unclean, too—including Jesus. But, after twelve years of suffering, she was obviously desperate for a miracle. Mark 5:27 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.
As soon as the woman touched Jesus, her bleeding stopped and she knew she was healed. In an instant, Jesus did what no doctor in twelve years had been able to. This proves the power of Christ, of course, but it also illustrates an important point about Jesus and the Law. In Leviticus 15:31 God says, “You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.” In the Old Testament, the temple was where God dwelt among the Israelites, but in the New Testament, God dwelt among men in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14 – 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us). Through Jesus the penalties of the Law are reversed, and the contamination of this world had no effect on Christ. The woman did not make Jesus (God’s dwelling) unclean—He made her clean!
Jesus immediately responds to the woman who touched His clothing and was healed. People were pushing and pressing into Him from all over, yet He stops, turns, and asks, in Mark 5:30“Who touched my clothes?”. The disciples were incredulous, but Jesus knew that healing power had gone out of Him. We can’t “steal” a miracle from God. After the woman comes forward and explains herself, Jesus clears up any misconceptions about her healing, saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). God is moved to action by our faith, even when He’s in the middle of doing something else!
Due to the greatness of the crowd, it took determination and desperation for this woman to press through the mass of people to just simply touch Jesus. He wanted the woman and the crowd to know that His garments had not caused her to be healed, but the strength of her faith.
Jesus could have healed the woman and kept on walking to His original destination. Only He and the woman would have known what had taken place. But He didn’t do that. Jesus stopped what He was doing and acknowledged the result of this woman’s faith: her complete and instantaneous healing.
But Scripture reports that healings did not take place in a variety of other situations. Paul, a tremendous man of faith and a mighty minister in the early church said about his own infirmity in 2 Corinthians 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Not all are healed because infirmities can teach us valuable lessons about our faith. Psalm 119:71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. And in Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.
Finally, not all are healed because it is God’s ultimate decision to heal or not to heal. We know that God is compassionate and merciful and that nothing is impossible for Him. He has authority over all disease and sickness and can choose to heal whomever He chooses, whenever He chooses and however He chooses. We don’t always know all of the answers as to why. We do know though that His ways are higher than ours. Furthermore, we know that He promises in Revelation 21:4: He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.