Touched

“Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she  began to wait on them.” Mark 1:30-31

I smell the sea this morning, that familiar scent of salt and fish and scrubbed breezes. It is the perfume of my life, and it soothes me as I float in and out of conscious awareness. This fever will not leave me. My sweet daughter has tried everything she knows to bring it down, but I remain hot to the touch, chilled to my very bones. Days and nights run together, and I have no idea how long I have been sick. I won’t recover from this, I think, and that makes me sad for my daughter. She is still so young and hasn’t made friends yet since Simon moved us to Capernaum. She will be lonely. Who will comfort her, who will help her? It saddens me knowing I can do nothing but lie shivering and burning on this pallet until the fever finally consumes me. Like a ship with no sail, I am drifting now on a sea of fevered memories.

My father was a fisherman. I married a fisherman from a fisherman’s family. I have been de-boning fish since I was a small child, separating the kosher from the unclean and carrying baskets of fish to the marketplace to sell as soon as I learned to count. The sun bakes the aroma of fish into the very stones of our home. Fish nets in various states of repair drape over the low stone walls surrounding our courtyard. Fish are drying on the rooftop and frying over the open fire in the courtyard. I sit on my stool near the fire, rubbing fish oil into the cracks of chapped hands. The morning is young, the laundry absorbing the fragrance of warm sun, salt, and wildflowers as it dries; bread is rising in the pans, and fresh goat milk is chilling in the well; the children are laughing. I am at peace.

I startle awake as my daughter lays another blanket on top of me and helps me sip cool water. She is my only child, my great delight and blessing. Her marriage to Simon has also been a blessing. He is a fisherman, like her father, and takes such good care of my daughter. Now he also cares for me. When my husband died, Simon immediately made a place for me in his home. Andrew, his unmarried brother also lives with us since their parents died many years ago. I can’t help worrying about Simon and Andrew now. They’d left their thriving fishing business in Galilee to follow an itinerant rabbi. I always loved helping others, and I wanted to be a help to them and some help to my daughter, that was my purpose as a widow. Now, instead of serving, I am a burden. I have no purpose but to wait for the fever to claim me. What would happen to them when I am gone? This thought carries me back into fevered dreams.

Peter and his brother Andrew left long before dawn, after breakfasting on last night’s fish and bread. They needed more pitch on the boat’s keel so they would be casting nets from the shore until they could complete the repairs. My daughter and I were just laying out the dried fish, cheese, dates, and bread for our mid-day meal when Peter rushed into the house with Andrew on his heels. Out of breath and more excited than I’d ever seen them, Peter said their fishing days were over! They were going to be fishers of men, called by Jesus of Nazareth to be a disciple. I think they are crazy! Fishers of men? What is that supposed to mean? They just left their nets and were following this man they don’t even know? My daughter and I were speechless! Over the next few months, Peter and Andrew continued to make sure we had plenty of food, but they went with Jesus wherever he went. Eventually they moved us to Capernaum. None of this made sense, but they could not stop talking about the rabbi’s teachings and the many people healed, even lepers.

My mind was fuzzy, my lips so chapped and dry, the fever a furnace within me. I thought I heard voices, but I couldn’t open my eyes anymore. It took more strength than I had. And then, I felt someone touch me and take my hand in theirs. Not my daughter’s hand or Simon’s or Andrew’s. This was a strong hand, not overly large but calloused and worn, yet so infinitely gentle. A hand that drew me up and didn’t let go. I opened my eyes and sat up, throwing the mountain of blankets to the side. My mind was clear, the fever was gone, and I felt drawn into the depths of an indescribable love radiating from the man who held my hands. “Mother,” Simon said, “this is Jesus.”

Suddenly, everything made sense! This was no itinerant rabbi. This Jesus was the Messiah. His touch told me everything! I jumped to my feet and raced to the well for water. The Messiah touched me! I would wash His feet and the feet of His disciples. I would bake them fresh bread. I would serve them. Just as Simon and Andrew immediately left their nets behind to follow Jesus, I left my fevered bed behind to serve Him. The sea of memories and fevered dreams now swallowed up in eternal waking peace, and I have real purpose for the first time in my life. My life scrubbed as clean as the ocean breeze, I will serve Jesus for as long as I have breath in my body. And beyond that, forever praise. He touched me.

Jesus, Your touch has lifted me from sin and death and given me life everlasting. My I serve You sacrificially and may praise and worship characterize my life lived for You.  Thank You for the blessing of three sons-in-love who love and care for my daughters and who love and honor me as well. Thank You for touching me through their love.

  1. How does the touch of Jesus impact your daily life?
  2. How is God calling you to serve Him today?
  3. Who in your family needs to feel the touch of Jesus through you?©

Published by thistleplaid

Introductions are always awkward. What words can capture the essence of character and personality? And yet, we all long to know and be known, so let me introduce myself to you. I am an introverted "fun girl" who is passionate about Jesus, family and intimate friendships. I am a wife of 50 years, whose husband now resides in heaven (widow does not define me!). I am a mother of three daughters and three sons-in-love, a Gram to eight grandchildren, and a Great-Granny to one adorable baby girl. With Scottish ancestry, I love all things plaid, bagpipes and thistles. I love tea and books and rainy days; mountains, ocean waves, and sunshine' lavender, Golden Doodles, bagpipes and country music. Most importantly, I am the daughter of the King of Kings, on the journey of being conformed to His image and desperately in need of His mercies every day. My goal with this blog is to meet other women on this journey and encourage them to see and seek Encounters with Mercy and Glimpses of Glory that will challenge and nourish their souls.

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