Woman, you are set free!

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Woman, you are set free!

Reflection on Luke 13:10-13 (NRSV)

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 

Some of you can identify with this woman. Like the woman in the story, you sometimes hurt so much that you don’t even know where to turn for help. You desperately try all kinds of ways and look in all sorts of places to find release from your affliction. All you know is that you want to stop hurting, so you try everything you know how to do. You even try some things you know you shouldn’t do.

Deep down inside you ache for peace. And you search for it without ceasing. You search for peace by changing jobs. You look for peace by acquiring degrees. You crave for peace through relationships, all of which have failed for one reason or the other. And more times than you care to admit, you warm up to peace in physically destructive ways. But no matter what you do, peace continues to elude you. All you know is that you’ve been bent over for so long you don’t even know what it means to stand up straight.

Then one day you get a heads up! Somebody tells you to look for peace in the sanctuary. There is healing in the sanctum, they avow. You figure that you’ve been broken, bent, and battered so long you’re willing to try anything. So one day you just show up.

Now verse 12 of the scripture tells us: “When Jesus saw [the woman], he called her over.”

Jesus and Samaritan woman

Jesus and Samaritan woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His voice is unmistakable and grabs your attention. What does it mean to be called over by Jesus? Do the waters of your soul erupt in a storm? Do a whirlwind of thoughts overcome you? Does it feel like somebody has locked you into his radar? Do you have this sense that someone, at last, sees your pain?

There’s that voice again. Jesus is saying tenderly, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.”

Then he lays his hands on you, and immediately you stand up straight and begin praising God. And you’re finally able to look up.

During all those years you were bent over, darkness was the only thing you could see all around you. No matter which way you turned everything was dim. But when you looked up, lo and behold, there was light – marvelous light and the spirit of peace for which you had been searching for so long.

Ever since that day, you’ve been deeply attuned to that light and that peace and that voice: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27, NLT),” Jesus speaks. You bask in the peace of the sanctuary as that voice loops through your spirit endlessly.


Loving God, thank you for peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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