I’m standing here, waiting for a man to die. It’s taking a long time, but I am going to see it through. I have to. This is one death I must see. He will be dead before the day is out, that’s for sure. He is covered in blood – his face, his arms, his legs – his whole body, where they whipped him. My dress is covered in blood, but it’s not his. Though, the more I think of it, I suppose it is. There has been a lot of blood today. Early this morning I saw a man wash his hands, trying to rid himself of it, even before it was spilled.
Some of the crowd are yelling at him. “Save yourself! Save yourself!” Oh, wouldn’t they love that! What, just what, would they do if he did? I would love to see their faces then! He won’t, though. He can’t. He knows that. And he knows he must die.
The lawyers and the priests have all turned up and are taunting him, insulting him. Passers-by join in and everyone laughs. But he isn’t laughing. A grimace is all he can manage as the pain racks him. Blood drips from his brow and mingles with the tears. No, he isn’t laughing. They laugh. They laughed at him before. I laughed that day too, but not at him. I laughed for joy, real joy.
It’s strange the way things change. Not so very long ago they thought he was the best! You just couldn’t get near him, but you always knew what he was saying, what he was doing. The stories that were going round! It didn’t last long, just two or three years. And now look at him! Hated by so many, and just a few hours to live!
I know what it is to be hated. I had twelve years of it. “Stay there! Keep away! She touched me, she touched me!” I was filth to everyone. If I touched them or they touched me, they were contaminated, and they lashed out at me then. I spent everything I had, everything I could get, trying to stop it, but it was useless. I bled and bled and the money-grabbing doctors bled me. Twelve years, twelve long years. I bled, but never enough to die, just enough to keep me hated. What is it about blood? There he is now, bleeding and hated. In a way, I was just the same.
Some days I prayed that God would end it all. It was too much to bear, and I just wanted to die.
Then the stories started. About him. The country was buzzing. He could do this, do that. People flocked to him, people of all types, and they were never rejected, never turned away as dirty, as dangerous, as not good enough. It was even said that he was drawn to people like that, people like me. Somebody said he even touched a leper! Stories of fantastic healing were everywhere. He would touch you and you were cured. There were so many stories that there had to be some truth in them, some hope, and I went to find him. I had no money to give him – the doctors had taken all that – but somehow I had to get to him.
I had no trouble finding him. All I had to do was follow everyone else. It was as if every road led to him. At last, we reached the lake. I have never seen so many people! I couldn’t get close enough and everyone was pushing. No one seemed to notice me. They were so determined to get to him, they couldn’ see me, or my filth. I was so far away I despaired of healing. He got into a boat, and I died inside. He was leaving!
But then he spoke. His voice rang through the air and pierced me. Every word had meaning. Every word had hope. Every word had love. Oh, that voice! I knew then that all the stories were true. I knew that my hope lay in him. I knew that my future was his. I fell to the ground and sat there enthralled. I drank his words, his voice, his whole being. Life! When he stopped talking I stayed there. His voice still rang. I sat. The crowds wailed, “He’s leaving, he’s leaving!” They cried for the healing they had missed, and one by one they left. I sat. I knew he would return. I knew he was my future. I knew now that I had a future. I sat.
It grew darker, and the wind rose, stronger and stronger. I sat. Late that night there was a raging wind, but suddenly it stopped, just stopped. I sat. I could still hear his words and I sat. I sat all night. I knew he would be back. Knew it.
I sat there most of the next day. Then, sure enough, the boat returned. The crowds appeared from nowhere! I rose and moved towards him, pushing my way through, knowing that he was my healing. I was getting closer, closer. Then I knew he was there, just ahead! I stretched my arm out through the people in front of me, straining forward, my fingers desperate to touch my new life!
AHHHH!!! The surge through my body was immense!
“Who touched my clothes?” His voice struck fear into me and the yell of joy which was rising in me was stifled.
“You see the people crowding against you,” someone said, “and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
His eyes were searching for me, drawing me to him, and I moved forward and fell to my knees, shaking with fear. I told him my story. But instead of the lashing I expected, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Daughter! Daughter! Healing was enough, but to be his daughter!
He turned and moved on, and I followed, as I have followed ever since. We came to a house. Outside it were mourners, crying and wailing. He asked, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead, but asleep.” That is when they laughed. But they stopped laughing soon enough, when he led the girl out by the hand! And I laughed for joy! And I will laugh again soon, because he will prove them wrong again!
But just right now I am not laughing. I don’t really know how I feel. As I watch him hanging there in agony, I ache and weep, but I know it has to be. As I hear them scream abuse at him, I feel my anger rise, but he has forgiven them, and so must I. As I watch him die, I know that he’s dying for me, and I must now live for him.
I watch the blood. Blood! My blood made me dirty and a prisoner. His blood will clean and set me free!