The Sick Woman Made Well and the Dead Girl Brought to Life
by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
A GREAT crowd of people were on the shore at Capernaum, looking earnestly over the sea. On the evening before they had seen Jesus with his disciples in their boats pushing off from the beach and sailing out into the lake; and now they were watching for their return. Close by the water was standing one man, whose face showed that he was in great trouble, as he gazed anxiously in every direction over the sea.
This man was named Jairus. He was the chief elder over the church in the town, which they called the synagogue. At home his little daughter twelve years old was lying very ill and likely to die at any moment. Jairus knew that if Jesus should come ashore in time, before his daughter would die, he could save her life; so with hope and fear mingled, he stood on the shore watching for Jesus to come, but fearing that he might come too late.
At last he could see the large boat rising in sight and drawing nearer, with other smaller boats around it. Before Jesus could step ashore, Jairus fell down upon his face before him and cried out:
"O Master, come to my house just as soon as you can! My little daughter is lying at the point of death; I pray you, come and lay your hands upon her so that she may live and be made well."
Jesus went with him, and all the crowd followed, pressing closely upon him; some showing pity and hope for Jairus in his trouble, but more of them wishing to see Jesus do one of his wonderful works.
In the edge of the crowd was standing a poor woman, wasted by sickness and as pale as death. She had a running sore, which for twelve years had drained away her blood. She was very eager to go to Jesus, for she believed that he could cure her sore, although many doctors had tried in vain to help her. She had spent all her money upon the doctors, one after another, but no one of them had done her any good, and she was all the time growing worse. Jesus was in the middle of this great crowd, and this woman was very weak, but by making a strong effort she was able to get near enough to Jesus, not to speak to him, but to reach her hand between those who were walking nearest to him and to touch his clothes.
Suddenly a great hope arose in her heart. She said to herself, "I really believe that if I can just touch the Master's clothes I will be made well!"
She reached out with trembling hand and touched the outer robe of Jesus. In an instant she felt a strange power come into her body and she knew that the sore was cured. She was well and strong!
At that moment Jesus stopped in his walk, while Jairus was trying to hurry him onward. He stood still, looked all around, and said,
"Who touched my clothes?"
His disciples were beside him, and Peter answered:
"Why, Master, the crowd is all around, pressing close upon you, and yet you say, 'Who touched me?' while people are touching you all the time."
But Jesus said, "I am sure that somebody touched me, because I felt that power had gone out from me."
As he stood still and looked all around to see who had done this, the woman came forward out of the crowd and fell down at his feet, trembling with fear, afraid that she had offended him. She told of what she had suffered, how she had touched his clothing and had been made well. Jesus said to her:
"Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be free from your sickness."
But while Jesus was delaying for these few moments, Jairus was standing by his side in growing alarm, for to him and his dying child every minute was precious. Just then some one from his own house came up to him through the crowd and said:
"Your daughter is dead; what is the use of asking the Teacher to come any further? Not even he can help her now."
These people had not heard how Jesus some weeks before had raised to life the widow's son at Nain, for that village was at least twenty-five miles from Capernaum.
But Jesus spoke encouragingly to the sorrowing father. "Have no fear; only believe, and she shall yet be well."
They went to the house of Jairus, and the crowd would have followed him inside, but Jesus forbade them. He allowed none to go with him into the house, except the father and three of his disciples, Peter, James and John.
The house was full of people, weeping and wailing, playing on flutes and making a great noise, as the manner was then and is even now in that land. Men and women are paid to come to the house where one is lying dead, and to scream and cry aloud, so that all in the town may know of the death and of the sorrow of the family.
Jesus said to the people in the house, "Why do you make such a noise? The little girl is not dead, but only sleeping."
Jesus meant by these words that we need not be filled with sorrow when our friends die; for death is only a sleep until the time when God shall awaken them. But this they did not understand; and they would not be comforted, for they knew that the child was dead.
Jesus ordered all these hired mourners to leave the house. He went into the room where the dead child was lying on the bed, taking with him only her father and mother, with his three chosen disciples. Standing beside the dead body, he took its little hand into his own and said:
"Little girl, I say to you, rise up!"
And instantly the girl stood up, looked around and began to walk. How happy were that father and mother as they clasped in their arms their little girl, no longer dead, but living and well. All were filled with wonder. They would have told everybody about this mighty work, but Jesus said to them:
"Give the child something to eat, but do not talk about her being brought back to life. Tell no one of it."