Then [Jesus] turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.”
Luke 7:45, NIV*
Simon the Pharisee certainly does see the woman, and he’s offended that someone “of that sort” would invade his righteous household. But he doesn’t see her at all: drawn to Jesus, hoping, trusting, desperately needing a miracle.
I remember Mark Buchanan reading this story a few years ago at Write! Canada. “Do you see this woman?” He challenged us with this: do we see an individual’s heart, or just skim over the surface?
Do we see?
Are we free to make a difference, or do we hold back in fear? What if we’re rebuffed? What would the onlookers say?
The Gospel of Luke also tells how Jesus interrupts a mission to heal a dying child. Someone in the crowd has sneaked a healing by touching His robe. As the desperate father is nearing wits’ end, Jesus looks around and asks “Who touched Me?”
He knows full well which of the many bumps and jostles made the difference, and He knows the woman’s story: the 12 years’ incurable bleeding, the physicians’ helplessness, the woman’s despair. Under the Jewish law, she would have been considered unclean for all this time, outcast, feeling defeated and unworthy.
Jesus could let her slip away, healed and filled with wondrous hope. But He stops the whole progression and singles her out. Not to chastise her as she might fear, but to acknowledge her worth. He’s not about to let her go whole in body but wounded in soul.
Who will we meet today who needs some kindness?
Lord, grant us to really see the people you bring our way.