I couldn’t feel the coarse fabric of the cloak I had stolen. I knew it was wrong to take it, but I was desperate. I slipped between two houses. Capernaum was quieter that usual, for which I was grateful. I was also grateful it was getting darker
Speed was necessary. If I was discovered, I could be beaten, driven out of town, or worse.
The person I was searching for taught in the mountainside, but I couldn’t approach him with a group of people surrounding him. My secret would be out.
I didn’t even know if he could help me. But I heard he had driven a demon out of a man in the synagogue a week ago. I shuffled toward the mountainside. I might have cut my heel on a sharp rock, but I couldn’t tell. As I reached a crest, I saw the crowd moving toward me. They had listened to the rabbi speak all day, but now they were returning home. I slipped behind a dead tree, keeping my eyes down and head covered. No one noticed me.
I peered around the tree and finally saw the man I was looking for. He sat on large stone near a grassy hill, twelve men milled around him. They talked about finding dinner in town somewhere. The rabbi was silent on the edge of the group. I reasoned I could slip up, talk to him and…well, I hadn’t quite figured out the next part.
Now was the time. Either leave and remain alone for the rest of my life, or go to this rabbi named Jesus.
I ran to him, falling at his feet and my cloak slid off. I held my hands up and begged. “Rabbi, please help me!”
His followers noticed me and pulled back in disgust. I knew they stared at the sores and welts on my head and shoulders. A few yelled angrily at me. “Why didn’t you warn us you were unclean? You are supposed to be in isolation!” One approached me with his fists clenched and a scowl painted on his features. “Get out of here, you leper.”
Jesus rose to his feet. “All of you, stop it.” He came closer and knelt in front of me. He was the only one who had not pulled away and glared at my condition like so many others had.
His eyes held such concern and compassion, a depth I had never witnessed before. Maybe he could help. I lowered my head to hide my tears.
“Please. I want to be healed. I want to feel again. I want to hold my baby girl and see my wife. It’s been years, and I know I’ll die alone and deformed if you send me away.”
More tears fell, and I wiped them away with one of the few fingers I had left. “If you are willing, I know you can make me clean.”
Then I noticed a slight pressure on my welt-covered shoulder. Jesus was touching me! One of the disciples objected, “Lord! You will become unclean as well!”
But he didn’t mind them, he only spoke, “I am willing. Be clean.”
In that moment, something miraculous happened. I suddenly felt Jesus’ hand more distinctly. I felt the brush of his gentle, worn palm against my shoulder. I actually felt it! I looked down at my hands and felt my face. They were all healed! The skin was smooth again!
The grass beneath my feet tickled and the cool evening air felt delicious against my new skin.
Jesus helped me to my feet, telling me to go to the priests, saying they could verify my cleanliness. It meant I could go home. I could see my family again.
That night, my skin was new, along with my heart. The healing Jesus had given me also gave me hope. I had been unclean, an outcast, doomed to die alone. But now, I was clean again!
Copyright 2012 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.