• Joni Elizabeth

Wrist tied with blue...

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

It’s been a couple years since that morning. And to be honest, I can’t remember the details of my prayer. Maybe I was heavy hearted, maybe God was just filling me with a deeper longing for Himself. Whatever the circumstances, I found my prayers shifted into desperation for my Beloved. Then, an image was dropped into my heart: A woman’s hand taking hold of the fringed edge of a cloth.

Grabbing my Bible I turned to the story of the woman who had been ill, was deemed unclean, and so was removed from society.

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.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

Mark 5:27-29 NIV

This woman had been facing the decline of her circumstances for years. But when Hope came, she took hold of it. She took hold of Jesus in a move of faith.

Looking deeper into the text I found some translations said she took hold of Jesus’ “outer clothes”. Others said “fringe” or “the hem of his garment”, but it is thought that what it really might’ve been was a prayer shawl worn by Jews. These prayer shawls had tassels on each of the four corners with blue thread. The blue color represents priesthood, holiness, and even royalty or authority.

So not only was an unclean woman taking hold of a man, she’d touched the hem of his clothes: the very part of his wardrobe signifying holiness. This adds a whole new layer to the woman’s boldness and faith. She wasn’t just grabbing onto a man others called miraculous, but she was believing in Jesus’ very authority and holiness to make her well. And she had the boldness to claim it!

Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Mark 5:33-34

How generous our Lord is, giving life freely to all who go to Him in faith and humility…

Reading more, I learned that the blue wool in the corner tassels was made with a very special dye made from a sea creature. Some say the color came from a kind of snail, others a sort of clam, but either way, the source was lost.

Since then, there have been some who have sought out the dye, but many Jews who believe that it is the Messiah himself who will uncover the mystery when he come. Until then, their tassels remain white, without the dye, without the symbolic mark of holy covering…

My heart aches thinking of these people who are waiting for Elijah, who are waiting for the Anointed One who can bring us into holiness… Because though I may not know what snail made that blue hue, I know the Messiah has already come! It is Jesus who has already covered us by His sacrifice. I know that through Him we already have access to holiness, kingship, and life.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:19-23

Now, when I read the story of the woman who took hold of Jesus’ hem, I’m reminded of the access we have today. With a blue thread tied round my wrist (probably a synthetic dye of some sort) I’m reminded of Christ who covered me and gave me that access. I’m reminded of Holy Spirit, the Helper and Comforter who was given to me, who surrounds me and lives in me. And I remember to have the boldness and faith to take hold.

“Daughter… be free!”

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