Everyone probably knew her as the bent-over woman. She came to worship at the synagogue regularly. But she was recognized by her condition, not her identity as a child of God or even by her name.
Her neighbors saw her through eyes of pity. The religious leaders saw her as an example of someone who was not right with God and deserved her plight. She came to the synagogue every Sabbath crippled with pain, bent over in shame, and thirsty for the living water of healing from God. Yet no one paid attention or really saw her.
For eighteen years the religious leaders failed to pray with her on the six days when they had every opportunity to anoint her with oil and pray for God’s healing. They were more focused on keeping their religious rules than seeing the need to bring a daughter of Israel before the mercy seat of God.
But Jesus saw her. When he called her forward, she might have thought he meant someone else. But Jesus was speaking to her, and she slowly shuffled toward him, who saw her as a prisoner in need of being set free from her burden.
Do we see people this way—burdened and distressed? Do we bring them to Jesus for healing? In what ways can you offer comfort and prayer for someone like that today?
Savior Jesus, so often we work hard to keep up appearances, and we sidestep opportunities for compassion. Forgive me and help me to show mercy to people in need. In your name, Amen.