Leviticus 11-13:The Untouchables

Skin diseases must have been a challenge for the Hebrews living out in the desert. I can’t help but feel pity for those who were forced to stay outside the camp, ostracized and forced to declare themselves “unclean” any time anyone approached them.

One of my favorites stories of Jesus is how he went up to the lepers, touched them in their uncleanness, and then healed them.

The bleeding after pregnancy and during menstrual cycles also made women ceremonially unclean. That’s not such a bad idea! I get so cranky and tired, and lately I’ve been in so much pain, that having to spend time alone in bed for a whole week sounds almost like a vacation! Perhaps in a way this regulation was God’s way to ensure that a new mother and a woman having her period had a chance to recover before jumping into life so quickly.

God provided his circle of protection, again with the regulations about what meat could and could not be eaten. I’m fairly sure they did not have access to cooking thermometers, nor did they have the knowledge that we do about the safe temperature required for certain foods.

Tonight’s blog thus far is more of a summary of what I’ve read rather than a musing on application in my own life. I do long for Jesus to reach down and heal me of my female ailments I’m currently suffering. I know what that lady who bled for twelve straight years must have felt like (not really). I have a sonogram scheduled for tomorrow — wouldn’t it be awesome if they are unable to find anything wrong? Actually, I pray that they will find out what is causing me so much pain. Endometriosis? Fibroids? Cysts? Onset of menopause? What did women do thousands of years ago, traipsing around in the desert, when they were accosted by severe cramping and bleeding? Did they have herbs or medicines to ease pain? Or were those women made of stronger stuff than me? I suspect that may be the case!

I can relax and rest, though, in the knowledge that Jesus isn’t afraid to touch me even if I get myself into an unclean state — physically, emotionally, or mentally. In reaching out and healing the lepers, he took the Lord’s provision for them one giant step forward and demonstrated what it looks like to serve in love, without fear.

Who are the metaphorical lepers in our current society? My niece is involved in a mission with her church where she reaches out to prostitutes. She goes in groups and gets to know them personally and tries to help them see that there is a better way. Like Jesus, she isn’t afraid to touch them with her friendship and her love.

My husband and his roommates befriended a sometimes odiferous homeless, mentally ill man when they were students in college. They let him use their address to apply for food stamps, and they did all they could to try to convince him to move in with them. He had an illness, though, that kept him on the streets. Still, they sought him out, brought him food, and checked up on him at his usual haunts. They showed him love when many in today’s society would not.

Tomorrow I will keep my eyes open for those the world has labeled unlovely, and I pray the Lord will give me eyes to see and hands and feet that are willing and the courage to step over my comfort zone so I can follow Jesus in freely touching the “lepers” I encounter with love and grace.

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