In junior secondary school, my biology teacher taught me about osmosis, how a region of higher solute concentration pulls water molecules to itself from a proximate region of lower solute concentration through a semipermeable membrane.  For example, how a full tube of pure water, the bottom sealed with a semipermeable film, standing in a half-full bowl of salt water, gradually loses its water to the outer surrounding of higher concentration.  It is nature’s voice, saying that something would usually move from one sphere to the other, depending on the relative energy concentration in each sphere.

During one of Jesus’ many missionary walks down the streets of Capernaum in ancient Galilee, with an excited multitude thronging behind Him, a woman made up her mind to attempt a psychic connection with Him by contact just with His clothes – not Himself.  She had had a defiant disease for twelve years, and had resolved to seek a spiritual solution to her physical crisis.  She pushed through the rowdy throng, quickly touched His clothes in a way that none would notice, then as quickly attempted to withdraw.  Unknown to her, her touch had set off an alarm in the realms of the spirit.  Jesus stopped promptly, turned around, and with a quizzical expression on His face, asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30).  As far as the disciples were concerned, that was a very stupid question to ask in the midst of such a rowdy crowd with everyone jostling everyone else for vantage space.

Her touch was not the only touch that Jesus had had that day.  Some folks from the crowd might even have shoved Him, but her touch was different.  It was purposeful, and it took something from Him: something precious, something spiritual, something felt.  Mark you, what she touched was just His clothes, not Himself, yet the contact was sufficient to connect with His power bank.

Every touch is not a greeting, even if it might seem so.  Some physical touch is spiritual in nature, and like wires conducting electricity from a source to the load, it takes something or transmits something.  Hands are spiritual conductors by which good and bad might be tapped or transmitted (Deuteronomy 34:9; Matthew 19:13-15).  For that, spiritual elders are wont to warn their followers to mind their hands and their heads (1 Timothy 5:22).

There is a psychic science by which energy might be mined or transmitted through hands in contact with bodies or with other materials connected to those bodies (Acts 19:12; 2 Kings 4:29).  If Jesus had not been spiritually sensitive, He would never have known that anything left him through a woman’s apparently casual touch on a rowdy crowded day; he would never have known why His battery was suddenly flat at a crucial next bus stop just after so much glory and energy at a previous charging point.

On one very strategic mission, Jesus advised His disciples to be cautious and “salute NO MAN by the way,” so that, through some fortuitous handshake, they did not drain what they carried before they got where they were headed (Luke 10:4).  The Twentieth Century New Testament says, “do not stop to greet any one on your journey.”  Wasn’t Jesus the highly-anointed Son of the Almighty God?  Weren’t the disciples ‘well-fortified’ by Him?  What was He afraid of?  Or what did He know?  What spiritual science was that?

Prophet Elisha himself once sent his servant Gehazi on a similar mission with a similar instruction to salute no one on his way, while he carried his master’s staff (like the contact garment of Jesus) on a crucial healing mission (2 Kings 4:29-31).  Unfortunately for Gehazi, it didn’t work.  My suspicion is that that greedy servant did not obey his master’s instructions.  He must have stopped somewhere to close a ‘prophetic seed’ deal with a gullible parish client.  That mischievous nature was to play out in the next chapter when his greed pushed him to chase after Naaman the Syrian diplomat, for favour that his master had refused.  Long after Prophet Elisha was dead, his osmotic powers were still active – the life force in his dead bones, on contact, still transmitted life to the dead (2 Kings 13:20-21).

Africans are not unfamiliar with diabolic folks fishing for menstrual pads and human hair at rubbish dumps – for voodoo.  Osmosis is true in spiritual terms also.  Sometimes something is gained or lost through a touch, a direct or indirect touch, sometimes apparently innocuous, in a rowdy crowded space.  May the glory of God insulate you this day from evil hands, but open you to His transforming mighty Touch. Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary
October 20, 2023. 

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