Find the other parts of this story HERE or at the link at the top of the page. There are other works of fiction at the top of the page, as well, including The Farmer’s Daughter, Quarantined (a short story), Rekindle (the start of another story story), and links to my two books for sale on digital platforms.
P.S. The character in this section will have a name change before the final publication. I just have decided on the name I want for her yet.
Eliana couldn’t stop thinking about the day her healing had come. Cleaning flour from the bowl, preparing to cook a meal for her sister’s family after so long, tears were warm on her face.
The morning she had been healed she had sat in the room of the home she’d been confined to for so long, weak, her heart heavy with loneliness and despair, the same as almost every morning for 12 years. Her husband Josiah had divorced her years before, declaring her unclean and unfit to bear him children. She watched him with his new wife from a distance, watched their children grow and felt the ache in her own womb for a child of her own.
“He will come with healing in his wings,” she whispered the morning she had been healed, remembering the prophecy of Malachi.
His wings. She wasn’t sure what that meant but she thought of what she had heard – that John the Baptizer had spoken, saying that a man who came to him for baptism was the one they’d been waiting for, the prophesied messiah. This man was a rabbi, a teacher, but whispers said he was so much more. Healings at his hands. Blind men seeing, crippled walking, souls rejoicing. She closed her eyes, pictured the man and what he might look like. What he might be wearing. She pictured his prayer garment and thought of how the corner of it, the tzitziyot, was called the wings of the garment.
The wings of the garment.
She felt it first in the pit of her stomach, a hard, hopeful knot. From all she had heard this man was indeed the one who would come to heal, not only her, but all mankind.
He had been easy to find. She had simply followed the crowd that pushed against him. She walked with her head covered, the covering pulled across her face with her hands that she clutched before her face, her head bowed.
Even though Eliana felt that this man called Yeshua was the messiah and knew touching his garment could heal her, she was fearful as she approached him. She was impure and she knew that if she touched him – this pure man – he would also become impure. He paused to speak with a man and someone in the crowd bumped her and she stumbled forward. He was so close. So close. She lowered herself to the ground as he stood, slowing reaching out. If she could just touch — Her hand trembled and she clutched her fingers into a fist, biting her lower lip, closing her eyes, hesitating.
“Adonai, Adonai. . .” she whispered, her lips dry.
She opened her eyes, drew a breath slow into her lungs, and stretched out her hand again, a sob gurling deep in her chest as her fingertips brushed the twisted wool at the edge his prayer shawl. Comfort and warmth flowed through her immediately and the pain she had suffered under for so long was gone. It was gone. She couldn’t feel the crunching agony within her womb. She couldn’t feel anything but peace.
The blood she had felt drip slowly down her leg, off and on, so many days for the last 12 years suddenly stopped. She felt dry where she had wet for so long. Eliana stood abruptly and turned to leave, to go home, get away from the crowds, think about what had happened, about what her future might hold now.
“Who touched my clothes?”
The voice of Yeshua startled Eliana and she looked back to see him looking around him, searching the crowd for the person who had touched him. A lightening bolt of fear coursed through her. She had been careful only to touch the tzitziyot, not him. How had he known? Even one of Yeshua’ followers expressed disbelief that he wanted to know who had touched him and pointed out that people were all around him. Anyone of them could have touched him.
“I felt power go out from me.”
Eliana trembled in fear, her breathing shallow. She clutched her hands together to try to stop the shaking. He knew someone had reached out for his healing. He knew.
How could he know?
How could he know unless. . .?
She watched him and fell instantly to her knees.
The words spilled out of her
“It was me, teacher.”
She felt, rather than saw him turn to her. Her eyes were on the ground, trembles shivering through her. “I have been bleeding, unclean for 12 years. I have been to every doctor. I have tried everything. I was shunned by my family, my community. But when I heard about you – when I heard of those you had healed, I knew – I knew you could take it all away and heal me. I knew you were the one who has been prophesied.”
He kneeled to her level, cupped her chin in his hand. She lifted her eyes slowly, to eyes soft with compassion.
“Your trust has healed you,” he said softly, so soft she could barely hear him. Then he spoke again, louder. “Your trust, daughter, has healed you. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.”
Her sister’s voice yanked Eliana from her memories of the day.
“Eliana! Have you finished the bread?”
“Yes, Ledah, I have.”
“Well, bring it. We are ready for dinner.”
Sunlight poured in through the window of the family home and across the table lined with food. Ledah’s family sat on the floor, children with big brown eyes looking kindly and expectedly at Eliana as she handed her sister the bread mixture. Her sister immediately started cooking the bread over the small fire pit just outside the door.
“We shall celebrate today,” Ledah said with a smile at Eliana as she placed the bread in the bowl. “Jeremiah has slaughtered our best lamb to celebrate your healing. It still makes no sense, but I don’t care. It is a wonderful day!”
Eliana smiled and shrugged. “I don’t understand it either. All I know is when I touched his garment, I was healed. I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you more than that. But I no longer suffer the way I did.”
Ledah shook her head. “It makes no sense, Eliana. A mere man can not heal you by you touching his garment.”
“Then he is not a mere man, is he?”
“Eliana, we have all heard these stories before. Supposed messiahs come to rescue the Jews. Yet here we sit under Roman rule. Don’t start believing all that nonsense now.”
“I don’t know what to believe, yet, but I know what happened to me and I know I am healed, Ledah. I know I have a lightness I have not known for 12 years. This is a gift I can not take lightly.”
Ledah took her older sister’s hand, squeezed it and smiled. “And that’s all that matters. That you are back with us and soon you will live life again among your people.”
Live life again? Eliana didn’t even know what that meant. After so many year alone, watching her husband remarry and have children from afar, she didn’t even know how to enter life again.
She couldn’t imagine any man wanting to marry her, not after she’d been cast aside by her husband. Her chance of having children was gone.
Yet, she had her health again and that in itself opened up hope to her.
And hope? Well, hope meant anything was possible now.