Fiction Thursday: Fully Alive Chapter 3

I finally found some time to sit and finish Chapter 3. As always, this is a story in progress, so there will be most likely be typos, plot holes, etc. I’ll rewrite and edit it prior to publishing it in the future on Kindle.

If you’re looking for other fiction I’ve written you can find my first book, A Story to Tell, on Kindle; my second book, chapter by chapter, here, or at the link at the top of the page under A New Beginning, or my short story Quarantined. I’m also sharing The Farmer’s Daughter on Fridays.

“Eliana, you must understand. Your bleeding does not stop. You are tuma. Unclean. I can not continue our marriage covenant any longer. There isn’t even a possibility of continuing my family’s line with you in this condition and there is no possibility of us  . . .”

Josiah turned to look at Eliana, pain in his eyes. He shook his head and turned from her.

“My heart is broken but this is the way it must be. Arrangements have already been made and the divorce will be finalized within a fortnight. I will give you your certificate of divorce then.”

Eliana fell on her knees to the dirt floor of the home she had shared with her husband for only three years before the bleeding started and wouldn’t stop. Eventually he had cast her out and she’d been living in a small home behind theirs because Jewish law called her unclean.

Her body shook with sobs that rose from deep within her as Josiah continued to stand with his back to her.

“Josiah!” she cried out between sobs. “Please. I love you. I am your wife. You can not abandon me at such a time. I am frightened and no doctor has helped me. I already live away from you, I can’t make you unclean. Please, wait . . . wait for me to be healed.”

A cold shiver rushed through her body. She had been shamed so much already, would she now be further shamed by being cast away by the man she had loved for so long? Panic seized her and without thinking she lunged forward, grasping Josiah’s hand, pressing it to her cheek.

“Do not shame me further, Josiah!”

Josiah ripped his hand from hers and staggered back as if struck by a blow.

“Eliana! No! You have made me unclean! I must go to the mikvah now to be cleansed! Stop this! You must accept our marriage is over. I will no longer continue to be bound in marriage to a woman I can’t even touch or . . . or make love to, have children with. A man can’t be expected to live such a lonely existence without his needs being met.”

He turned away from her, yanking the door to the home open. “I will provide you with a small sum of money to help you find food and shelter,” he said, his tone cold and detached. “You may stay in the house I have provided until you find a new home. Please be gone from this house when I return. Goodbye, Eliana. May Yahweh protect and bless you in your future.”

Eliana screamed at the closed door several moments, but soon collapsed in exhaustion. She had no strength to mourn. Blood had flowed from her for so long she wondered how she still breathed at all, let alone how she had managed to function to prepare her own food, clean her clothes and wash the clothes of the gentiles who knew nothing of her lengthy bleeding.

Josiah spoke of loneliness. He knew nothing of the isolation and loneliness she had faced for 5 years now. He knew nothing of the looks of disgust from those in her own community. He knew nothing of what she had suffered because he had turned from her when she needed him most.

Looking around the room, prostrate on the floor, she remembered the early days of marriage with Josiah. She remembered laughter, warm kisses, intimate moments within the bonds of marriage.

“We shall call him Tikvah. ‘Hope’,” Josiah had said, his hands on her protruding belly.

She laughed. “But we don’t even know if it will be a boy or a girl.”

“It will be a boy,” he said, laughing as he leaned close to kiss her. “A big, strong boy to help me in the fields.”

Eliana had laughed with him and now she wished she could remember how to laugh.

The day she held their son, Tikvah, lifeless in her arms, mere minutes after birth, she had forgotten how to laugh or even what laughter sounded like.

Josiah had become more distant, snared in his own grief, unable to soothe Elaina’s emotional pain. When the bleeding wouldn’t stop after birth, trickling each day, she became worried.

“It will stop,” her mother told her. “Do not worry, Eliana. This happened to my sister after she lost her baby, but the bleeding stopped.”

And eventually the bleeding slowed, her energy returned and Eliana was certain happiness would one day return to her, Josiah would hold her in his arms, and another baby would come.

The water of the mikvah was warm and inviting the day the bleeding stopped, and she prayed it would cleanse her from the tuma, make her clean again, help Josiah love her again. His mouth was warm on her own that night as he believed she had been cleansed but she no longer felt the passion she had before the loss. Something had withered inside her, faded away.

A week later she woke and felt warmth beneath her garments. Looking at her bed clothes she stared in disbelief at the growing red stain. The bleeding had returned.

“I love you, Eliana, but you must stay here. I can no longer have you in the home.”

Josiah tossed blankets at her feet, a small sack of coins, a few weeks later. The barren room around her reminded her of her barren womb and she wept when he had closed the door, leaving her alone in the darkened room. She stayed there, alone, only her sister visiting her with food and company a few times a week, watching Josiah live his life at the bottom of the hill, inviting friends to his home, working in the fields, and eventually speaking with Baruch, the butcher, who Eliana knew had three young, unmarried daughters at home.

“Elohim. Please. Please.”

She had paced the floor, tears in her eyes. She clutched at the top of her dress and sat, weak again.

“Don’t let Josiah marry again, leave me behind,” she had whispered to herself.

She could not even reach out to him, beg him to not choose another wife. Touching him would make him unclean like she was. She should have known then that this day would come, the day he would tell her she was no longer wanted, and he would no longer wait for her to be healed.

Eliana wished for death the night after Josiah told her he was marrying another to give him children.

“You can remain as my wife and return if the bleeding stops,” he had told her in a soft, hopeful voice.

But the bleeding had not stopped, and Eliana had watched as Abbigail’s belly had grown rounder and then later when she held a small newborn against her chest.

She now wished for death again, knowing Josiah didn’t want to wait to see if she would be healed. He had decided he truly no longer wanted her, no longer loved her.

She dragged her nails along her skin, wished for something hard and sharp to stab through her veins, let the blood run from every inch of her like it had been seeping from beneath her garments for so long. She imagined death enveloping her like a black sheet, pulling her down and down until she no longer had to think about the pain, the hurt, the rejection, the loss.

Do it.”

A voice hissed at her from the darkness, barely audible.

Her hair and clothes damp against her felt like chains as she thrashed under the blanket, trapped between sleep and wakefulness.

End it.”

She was choking, fingers tight around her throat, squeezing.

No one loves you. No one ever will.”

She reached out, tried to scream, but no sound came.

Shame whispered, breath hot against her face. “You are unclean. You will never be clean.

Depression growled deep in her soul. “You’re worthless.”

Rejection taunted. “You’re nothing. Nothing but a burden to all you touch.

Despair urged her to stop the voices, stop the hurt, stop the terror gnawing at her insides. “Just one cut and it will all be over.”

Eliana screamed out, trying to pull away from the claws pulling her down. “Adonai! Adonai! Help me!”

She gasped as she awoke, sun pouring in on her from the small window above her bed. She threw her blankets from her and stood quickly looking around the room frantically.

Had it all been a dream? Were the spirts still there?

“Eliana? Are you awake?”

Her sister’s voice startled her and she backed against the wall, sliding down it and pulling her knees to her chest.

When Ledah opened the door, Eliana’s face was pressed against her knees as she rocked slowly and sobbed.

“Oh, Eliana.” Ledah kneeled beside her, wrapping her arms tightly around her and pulling her close. “Eliana, I am so sorry for these many years of suffering you’ve faced. I will not leave you. I am here and I am not afraid to touch you. Do you understand?”

Eliana nodded but couldn’t speak, sobs choking her words, tears soaking her hair and dirt stained robe.

Oh Adonai, she prayed, clutching to her sister’s garment. Save me. Don’t let the Spirit of Death torment me any longer. Please, bring healing to me.


The sound of footsteps outside her window woke Josefa. She rubbed her eyes as she looked out the window, watching a crowd of people walking, laughing, talking past. Women and men were carrying children on their shoulders or leading them through the crowds. Older women were walking slowly with walking sticks. Men were speaking in hushed tones while other men spoke loudly, debating theological subjects.

“Where are those people going?” she asked her mother when she walked bleary eyed into the living area.

Her mother was busy kneading flour to bake bread.

“They say Yeshua is speaking on the hill today. They want to hear what he has to say.”

“Can I go, mama?”

“We have things to do here, Josefa. And you have not had your morning meal yet. You should eat.”

“I can take bread with me. I could go and tell you what he says.”

“Go alone? I don’t like the idea of that. . .”

Josefa glanced behind her, out the window and caught a glimpse of her mother’s friend Elizabeth among the crowd.

“Look, there is Elizabeth! I could walk with her.”

Sitting back on her feet, Myriam saw her daughter, saw the brightness in her eyes, the hope. She sighed. There were worse things than her daughter learning from the man who so many, including herself, were beginning to believe was truly the son of God.

“Hurry and catch up with her but don’t stay long. Come home for lunch and tell us what he says.”

She wrapped a cloth around a piece of bread she’d made fresh that morning. “Take this with you and eat.”

Josefa threw her arms around her mama’s middle quickly, snatching the bread and darting from the room.

“Thank you, mama!” she called over her shoulder.

Outside the sun was bright. Excited voices mingled with the sounds of the street – creaks and groans of a merchant’s cart, a woman calling for her child, a man calling out the price of the fish he was selling, laughter from a group of men gathered together outside the synagogue. Josefa pushed forward through the crowd toward Elizabeth, reading out and touching arm.

“Mama said I can come with you. Are we going to hear Yeshua?”

Elizabeth’s dark hair hung loose down her back, bouncing as she walked. Her smile was sweet and welcoming as she turned to look at Josesfa.

“Yes, Josefa. We are going to hear what the teacher has to say. Is it okay with your mother that you come with me?”

“Yes. She said I could come if I was with you.”

 Elizabeth’s youngest daughter, Lydia, held tightly to her mother’s hand, her toddler cheeks flushed in the warm sun.

Josefa slid her hand into Elizabeth’s other hand.

Elizabeth squeezed her hand gently. “Tell me, Josefa. How do you feel since the teacher came to visit you?”

“Amazing, Elizabeth. The world has never been brighter, food never tasted so incredible. It’s as if life is new again.”

Elizabeth laughed. “Oh, Josefa, you always have sounded older than you are. Sometimes I think that you were born a little old woman.”

Josefa smiled, hoping that Elizabeth’s words were meant to be a compliment.

A man behind them walked faster so he was walking in step with them.

“Are you Jairus’ daughter?” he asked, breathless.

He didn’t wait for Josefa to answer.

“Yeshua brought you back to life, didn’t he? What was it like? What did he say? Who do you believe he is? Is he truly the son of God?”

Words rushed out of him quickly, too quick for Josefa to answer and even if she had been able to fit her response in between the questions, she didn’t know what to say.

The rabbi had told her parents to treasure the miracle as their own and not to share it with others.

Elizabeth pulled Josefa against her as they walked.

“She’s just a child,” she said to the man. “Don’t bother her with so many questions.”

The man fell silent, looked down at the ground as they walked.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

He looked up and they followed his gaze to the top of the hill where Yeshua stood with his disciples and other followers.

“What do you think?” Elizabeth asked the man as the crowd slowed their steps. “Who do you say he is?”

The man shook his head slowly, never taking is eyes off the teacher.

“I don’t know. Truly. I do not know.”

“Hear me, everyone, and understand.”

The voice of Yeshua drifted to Josefa and she strained to hear, walking beyond Elizabeth and the man, pushing through the crowd.

“There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him, but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Josefa sat among others near the front of the crowd, pondering Yeshua’ words as he spoke. So much of his words were a mystery to her but she silently prayed Jehovah would show her later what the words meant.

An hour passed before Yeshua’ raised his hand to those asking questions.

“There will be time for answers later. I must go and break bread with my disciples now.”

Josefa looked over her shoulder for Elizabeth but couldn’t see her. She knew she should turn around and find her so they could return home but instead she rushed to follow Yeshua and the men who followed him, careful to stay several steps behind.

They sat next to the water, under an olive tree as another man approached with baskets.

“I have found us food – bread and fish, some fruit. Let us eat.”

As the men began to eat Josefa crouched behind a mound of dirt several feet away, close enough to hear their words.

“Where shall we go next, Master?” a man asked Yeshua.

“Wherever people will listen to us,” Yeshua said, breaking a piece of bread off.

“Master, I have a question – about what you said earlier today,” a disciple sat close to Yeshua, knee propped up and an arm laying across his knee.

“Yes, Thomas . . . please ask.”

“When you were speaking about whatever enters a man will not defile him. Does this mean that there are no rules about what foods we should eat? Should we ignore the law Moses gave us?”

Yeshua took a drink of water from a cup one of the disciples offered him. He sighed and leaned toward the man he had called Thomas.

“Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him because it does not enter his heart, but his stomach and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods. What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Josefa leaned back against the rock mulling the words over in her mind as the men ate and began to talk about their plans for the rest of the day, where they would rest that night and what cities they hoped to reach later in the week.

Hurried footsteps startled her. “Josefa!”

She looked up to see Elizabeth standing above her. “What are you doing? Your mother trusted me with you. Now come. It’s time to get home. Your mother will want you to help prepare for the afternoon meal.”

Josefa walked behind Elizabeth, the voice of Yeshua and his followers fading with each step. Her mind wandered to life before Yeshua had healed her as Lydia reached up and slipped her tiny had in hers.

Josefa thought about how every day had seemed routine, mundane, not full of life and hope before she’d been risen from the dead. She’d never thought about her future before then. She’d thought about chasing frogs with her friend Caleb and learning how to sow and make bread with her mother. She’d worried about who she might be betrothed to by her parents. But now she thought about so much more. She thought about how she could help others feel the way she felt; how she could show them how amazing life could really be and what a gift it was.

“Josefa, now that you are well life seems normal again,” her brother had told her one day after Yeshua had visited.

But Josefa didn’t want to go back to normal. She didn’t want to look back at the normal of her life before. She wanted to look forward to a new type of normal – a life full of opportunities to really live.

Full Alive Part 4

This is a continuing fiction story, based on a series of verses from the Bible. To read the other parts of the story click the following links:

Risen Part 1

Risen Part 2

Risen Part 3

“Josefa! Can you come to the stream to play?”

Her friend Caleb was peering at her through the curtain of her sleeping quarters window.

She rubbed the sleep from her eyes.

“After chores, yes.”

The sun wasn’t very high in the sky when Josefa finally took off her sandals and placed her feet in the stream near the olive trees. The water felt cool against her skin and she closed her eyes to enjoy the coolness of the water and the warmth of the sun.

“I heard another story about demons and Jesus’ followers,” Caleb leaned in close to whisper to her.

“Caleb. Now, stop that. There is no such thing as demons.”

“There totally is! They said Jesus’ follower named Matthew spoke to the man and said there was a demon in him. The man who told me said the man with the demon spoke funny and fell to the ground.”

Caleb fell on the ground and his face twisted up while he jerked around with his arms against his chest and then flailing back and forth.

“Like this!” He jumped up and stuck his tongue out at Josefa and shook his head back and forth vigorously

Josefa burst into laughter and put her hands up as if to push Caleb away from her as he continued to distort his face.

Caleb stepped back and stopped laughing.

“Then the man yelled back at Matthew and told him he lived there now and he wasn’t leaving, but Matthew said ‘You have no place here, demon and in the name of the most high God I command you to leave.’”

Caleb pointed at an imaginary man and made a stern face to imitate Matthew.

“In the name of the –“

He stepped closer to Josefa as he continued to point. He lifted his chin and looked sternly at her.

“The most high Gawd! Be goooone!”

Josefa put her hand over her mouth and giggled.
The sound of footsteps startled the pair.

Caleb’s older brother smirked as he looked down at them.

“Who do these men think they are? Acting as if they have authority to mess with the possessed?” he snapped.

Caleb’s older brother knelt next to the stream to fill his wineskin. He shook his head.

“No one asked you, Levi.”

Levi snorted.

“These are the words of children. Stories. That’s all they are. Only a baby like you would believe them.”

“That’s not true! I heard them talking about it in the market. That man named Matthew called a demon out.”

Caleb made a weird face again and staggered toward Levi. “I am a servant of the devil!” he said, pretending to be the possessed man.
Levi stepped away from his brother and rolled his eyes.
“And, besides, Jesus raised Josefa from the dead!” Caleb’s voice was loud and defiant.

Josefa’s cheeks flushed red.


“What? He did! You should tell more people! They should know the truth about Jesus and his followers and who they really are.”

“You speak foolishness, Caleb,” Levi said.

Levi turned toward her and she found herself unable to look up into his green eyes. Her heart pounded fast and furious and the palms of her hands grew moist.

“Is this true, Josefa? Tell me what Jesus really did.”

She could hear her heart in her ears now.

“I don’t want to talk about it, Levi.” She kept her eyes down, looking at the olive branch in her hand.

“Why? Because it is a lie? Right? What the people in your neighborhood said happened is a lie isn’t it?”

Josefa turned to look at Levi. A rush of warmth filled her.

“He asked us not to speak of it –“

Levi laughed. “Of course, he did. Because nothing happened.”

“They were already holding a time of mourning for her, Levi. You don’t know! You were out with the sheep. But it’s true! I was there! I was crying!”

Levi shook his head and tied his wineskin to his belt and reached for his staff.

“She was probably just asleep. You cry over everything. You’re still a boy.”

“She wasn’t breathing. I saw her! I touched her!”

Josefa looked at Caleb. She hadn’t known he’d been with her.

“You were there?” she asked softly.

Caleb’s cheeks were red now.

“Yes. I came because I did not want to believe it. I didn’t want to believe you were gone. I was there when Jesus came with those men and then he told us all to leave.”

Levi’s haughty laugh interrupted their exchange.

“of course Jesus wanted everyone to leave. So he could pretend Josefa was really dead.” He ruffled Caleb’s hair and Caleb slapped his hand way. “Okay, little one, I’m leaving you and your friend to your childish tales. Take care of mama while Joseph and I are gone to find the lost sheep.”

He paused and looked at Josefa, half turned away from her.

“Take care, Josefa. I don’t believe you were truly dead, but I am glad you are still alive.”

“Thank you, Levi,” her voice softened to a whisper and she tried to form the words “But I was dead.”

The sound of a passing cart drowned out her voice.

Levi walked around the children and called out to his older brother.

“Joseph wait for me!”

“Why didn’t you tell him?” Caleb asked as Levi and Joseph disappeared down the road.

“I don’t know. Jesus said to tell no one. I wasn’t sure –“
“But so many already know, Josefa. They know the truth about what happened to you. If it was me, I wouldn’t be ashamed. I’d be excited to let everyone know that I had been dead but now was alive.”

Josefa flicked at the water with her fingers and stared at the pools rolling into each other.

“But what if no one believes me?” she asked.

“But what if some do?” Caleb countered.

Fully Alive Part 3

For the first part of this work in progress click HERE. For the second part, click HERE.

This is a work in process and there will most likely be typos and changes to it in the future.

The busy sounds of people rushing by to complete their daily chores quieted as Jairus pushed the door to the synagogue closed. He leaned against the door and closed his eyes for a moment as he tried to quiet his racing thoughts.

Jairus focused on the words he had said to Josefa the night after the teacher had healed her.

Healed her? Brought her back to life?

Is that really what had happened?

Even now it was all too unbelievable to him.
He wondered, did he really believe this man, this Jesus was the true Messiah as he had told Josefa?

Maybe he had been wrong to say so. He’d spent his whole life studying the scrolls, learning of Moses and Elijah, about the prophecies of the Messiah. Now here he was almost completely convinced the man he had followed in the street, begging for him to come and heal his only daughter was indeed the Messiah. He knew he was being ridiculed behind his back by the other leaders of the synagogue for asking for Jesus’ help but he couldn’t deny what he had witnessed that day.

He remembered Josefa’s fever and how she’d no longer been able to stand. Miriam, his wife, had soaked cloth and laid it across Josefa’s forehead, hoping the cool water from the stream would revive her. For days they sat by her cot, holding her hand, Miriam weeping as Josefa moaned and faded in and out of consciousness.


“You know I told you about this teacher, this man they call Jesus? Miriam, are you listening? He’s been healing people. I saw him heal a man’s hand in the synagogue last week. The leaders were upset because it was the sabbath, but I saw the man’s hand. It was diseased, scarred, withered but Jesus held it, touched it and the hand was whole again.”


Miriam dabbed her eyes with her shawl as her husband spoke, barely listening as she watched her daughter’s breathing become more and more shallow. Dark circles were now under Josefa’s eyes.


“I will go to him, ask him to come,” Jairus was speaking again. He was pacing the floor, rubbing and pulling at the hairs of his beard as he always did when thoughts overwhelmed him.


“Do we now believe in such men who call themselves healers?” Miriam asked, weary from worry.


Josefa’s body shuddered with a convulsion. Miriam rushed to her, held the girl’s small frame against her chest. Josefa’s breathing became labored, shallow. Jairus saw the panic in his wife’s eyes and felt it rising in himself as well.

“We are losing her! Go! Go to this teacher and ask him to come!” Miriam’s voice was filled with fear. “He’s our only hope now!”

Jairus’ heart pounded as he ran from the house, out onto the crowded paths, pushing his way through travelers and locals and animals being led to market. He could see a crowd around a man in front of him. They were all moving one direction, calling out “Jesus!” Questions were being asked, some voices mocked, some sounded hopeful.

An image of Josefa’s pale frame flashed in Jairus’ mind and he tried to move faster, pushing more people aside. His chest felt tight, his breath more labored. Was this man he was trying to reach a heretic as the synagogue leaders and other rabbis said? What if he was crazy like the man who was called John the Baptist, who was covered in dirt and smelled and had spoke of a healer and prophet who would come to save the Jews?

Jairus’ foot caught a stone and he felt himself falling. The sand flew into his face and pebbles cut at his palms. As he pushed himself up he felt tears hot and stinging his eyes. He would never reach Jesus now.

He saw sandal clad feet before him and looked up.

“Let me help you,” a man with kind eyes and a smile held a hand out to him.

Jairus took it and stood slowly.

“Thank you,” he barely looked at the man, instead searching the crowd to see where Jesus had gone.

“Do you seek Jesus?” The man asked.

“Yes,” Jairus said, breathless.

“Come. I’m one of his followers. I will help you to him.”

Jairus looked at the man, noticed his unkempt beard and slightly frayed clothes. He nodded at him, seeing kindness and concern in his gaze.

The man gently touched the shoulders of those around them and people began to move aside. Ahead of them Jairus saw Jesus had paused and turned to the crowd. His eyes focused on Jairus who suddenly felt unsure, uneasy. Jairus dropped his gaze to the ground, overwhelmed with worry for his daughter and overwhelmed with the presence of a man who had performed so many miracles. His body felt weak from running, from being awake for so many days watching over his daughter.

He felt his knees give way and he fell to the ground before Jesus.

Sobs wracked his body as he lost control of control his emotions.

“Jesus,” he gasped out the name.

A sob choked his words and he thought he wouldn’t be able to finish.

“Jesus, my little girl is dying. Please. Come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

He felt tears rush down his face and he was startled by emotions he usually tried to keep locked inside.

He felt a hand on his head, on the covering he wore there.

“Come, rise and let us go to her,” Jesus voice was calm, gentle.


His followers helped Jairus to his feet and Jesus motioned for him to lead the way to his home. The crowd surged around Jesus and they all began to move with him, as if one combined force, following Jairus. Several moments of chaos followed and Jairus felt a rush of frustration as the crowd pushed between him and Jesus.

“Jesus! What does God ask of us?”

“Jesus, what happens when we die?”

“Jesus, will I find wealth?”

People cried out as they walked. They pushed against each other, each person wanting to get closer to the man so many were talking about.

“Who touched me?”

Jairus faintly heard Jesus’ voice over the noise of the crowd but he could barely hear what he was saying. He tried to push forward in the crowd, looking over his shoulder every few steps to see if Jesus was following.

“I felt power go from me,” Jesus spoke louder to one of his followers. He stopped and turned to look behind him. “Who has touched me?”

The people in the crowd murmured and grew quiet.  Jairus stopped to see why Jesus wasn’t following.

“Master, there are people all around you and you are asking ‘who touched me?’” one of Jesus’ disciples laughed slightly as he spoke. His tone was incredulous, tinged with annoyance.

Jairus knew this was the man called Peter – a local fisherman who now followed Jesus. Many whispered surprise Peter, known as brash and abrupt, was following a teacher of God.

“Somebody touched me, for I perceived power going out from me,” Jesus said.

His eyes scanned the crowd around him but no one answered. They looked at each other confused and unsure why Jesus was concerned.

A woman’s voice could be heard softly, barely above a whisper.

“It was me.”

“Who is speaking?” One of Jesus’ disciples asked. “Please, come forward. Answer the teacher.”

The crowd moved aside and a woman, head down, moved toward the front. She dropped to her knees, her head bowed low, her clothes tattered and stained. She clutched her hands before her and tears dripped off her face and into the dirt.

Jairus felt anxious. He wanted to grab Jesus by the arm and drag him forward, back to his house and his daughter, but at the same time he was entranced by the scene unfolding before him.

The woman glanced upwards at Jesus.

“It was me,” she said softly.

“I knew if I could just touch the hem of your robe…”

Her gaze fell again on the ground.

“I’ve been to every doctor. I’ve been bleeding for 12 years. No one will come near me, teacher. I am unclean.”

Some in the audience winced and a few stepped away from her, covering their mouths.

Tears continued to stream down her face.

“I have tried everything. I heard of your miracles and I knew – if I just touched the hem..”

Her fingertips grazed the edge of his robe again. She could barely speak as she sobbed.

“Master, the bleeding. I can feel- it’s stopped. Something is … something is …..different.”

Jairus felt his heart pounding heart and fast. If this woman was sure she had been healed, if she was saying simply touching the hem of his garment was enough to heal her then he was indeed a powerful man, a messenger of God. If healing flowed from him so easily then there was hope for Josefa.

Jesus kneeled before the woman, reached out and took her hands in his. He touched her chin and lifted her face toward his.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well.”

Jesus kissed her forehead gently and wiped the tears from her face. He stood and helped her to stand with him.

“Go in peace.”

A sob escaped her lips and she kissed Jesus’ hand as she held it. She backed slowly away.

“Thank you. Thank you.”

A hush had settled over the crowd. Some of the women dabbed their eyes and men talked quietly to each other, shaking their heads with furrowed eyebrows.

Jairus felt a sense of urgency rushing through him, tensing his muscles. He needed Jesus to hurry. He felt at hope at what he had seen and he wanted the same for his Josefa and his family.

“Jesus, my daughter… please …”

Jesus turned toward him and nodded.

“Of course, let us go…”

Jairus felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Josiah, his servant from home, standing next to him, his face stained with tears and dirt.

“Master, there is no need to hurry now. Josefa-“ his voice trailed off and Jairus began to shake his head.

“There is no need to bother the master now,” Josiah said. “She’s – “

“No! No!” Jairus wouldn’t let him finish.

He felt bile rushing up into his throat and his hands began to shake. He pressed his hands to his head, as if trying to wake himself from a dream.

“Josefa…” he felt the tears hot on his face and he clutched his robe against him as pain seared through his chest. “Oh God. God help me.”

He looked up as Jesus touched his arm.

“Do not be afraid. Believe.”

Jesus’ eyes were kind but Jairus’ mind was reeling. If only Jesus had moved faster. If only that woman hadn’t stopped them. Josefa would still be alive and her laughter would still fill their home.

“She’s gone,” he told Jesus. “We cannot save her now. You can not heal her. If only – ”

Jesus looked over Jairus’ shoulder, his gaze moving above the crowd.

“Come, lead me to your home.”

Jairus did as Jesus told him but his legs felt as if they were weighted down. Before they even reached the corridor where his home was he could hear the wailing and knew mourning had already begun.


Mourners were outside the home, trying to comfort Miriam, who was clearly in shock as she pulled at her clothes and repeated “no. no. no.”
Jairus rushed toward his wife, grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her against him. She clutched at his clothes and shoved her face into his chest.

“She’s gone. She’s gone. Oh, Jairus. Our little girl is gone.”

Jesus pushed forward in the crowd. He laid his hand against Miriam’s back to comfort her.

“There is no need for tears,” he said with a gentle firmness. “The girl is not dead. She is merely sleeping.”

An angry voice shouted over the noise of the crowd.

“She’s dead! You give these people false hope!” a man shouted.  “You are a liar and a fool! Like all who have come before you!”

Other voices joined in agreement.

“You say you can heal but you only bring hallow promises to these people,” a man sneered.

Jesus stood with his back to the crowd, kneeling down beside Miriam and Jairus.

“Send these people away and come inside with me,” he instructed. “Peter, James, John, come with me.”

Jairus opened his eyes to the sound of someone moving inside the temple, interrupting his thoughts and memories of that day.

“Jairus? Is that you?”

He recognized the voice of Ezra, another leader in the synagogue.

“Yes, Ezra. Good morning.”

Ezra walked toward him holding scrolls.

“Have you come to help me organize these for the scribes?” his mouth lifted in a wry smile.

“I did not but I am glad to help,” Jairus said returning the smile.

The men laid the scrolls on the table next to a bottle of ink.

“I do not know how so much has become in disarray in here – and outside,” Ezra said.

He looked at is friend and noticed Jairus was pulling at his beard, as he often did when deep in thought.

“Tell me, Jairus. How is Josefa recovering?”

Jairus smiled. “Well. She is well. It is – dare I say it? A miracle indeed.”

Ezra nodded but his expression grew serious.

“Jairus, I must ask you – I’ve heard many talk of what happened with Josefa. Is it true, what they say? Was she dead before Jesus arrived?”

Jairus felt his muscles tense. He was unsure what Ezra hoped to learn with his questions. He pondered how to answer, but knew telling the truth might encourage Ezra to help him understand more what had happened.

“Miriam and her hand maiden said there was no breath. She was cold when I entered the home and I felt no heartbeat beneath my hand. Her skin –“ he felt his breath catch in his throat and he paused to choke back emotion. He shook his head as if to shake the image from his mind. “Her skin was pale, tinged with blue. And… so cold.”

Ezra put his hand on his friend’s arm and squeezed it slightly.

“You’ve been through much, my friend,” Ezra said.

He opened a scroll to read it’s contents, rolled it again and stuck it back in a space in the temple wall.

“What do you believe happened that day?” Ezra asked.

“I don’t know, friend. I truly don’t. All I know is she was gone and when Jesus came she arose at his bidding. He took her hand and instructed her to rise and live and she did.”

“After all you have seen .. .” Ezra paused in stacking the scrolls and turned to look to Jairus “After meeting this man who calls himself the Son of God – who do you say he is?”

Jairus realized he didn’t know how to answer. He had seen Jesus do miraculous things and heard of even more. He believed his daughter was still living because Jesus touched her, but was he truly the son of Jehovah or was he simply a great teacher, so holy Jehovah used him to heal.

He looked Ezra in the eyes, opened his mouth to answer and then closed it again.

“Ezra – I wish I could say, but truly, I do not know what to believe about this man.”