Posts Tagged ‘sandwiching’

MARK 5:21-43

21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24 So he went with him.

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25 Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29 Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.30 Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 He looked all around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38 When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly.39 When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Looking closely we can see what appears to be a double-image, of the little girl needing the healing touch of Jesus on one side, and the desperate woman reaching out to touch his clothes in hopes of being restored to health on the other.

We are encouraged to this view by the technique used by the storyteller, called sandwiching, where the full cycle of one episode (the one with Jairus’ sick daughter) is interrupted and implanted with a second episode (the one with the hemorrhaging woman). As can only be done in the narrative art of storytelling, a complex and multi-layered image is focused on the retina of the reader’s imagination as a single truth.

First, we notice the extremity of need on the part of both the little girl and the woman swamped in medical bills. They are each at hope’s end. Further, we are told that the woman, for her part, had been suffering for twelve long years, and that the sickly little girl was herself twelve years old. You can pass it off as incidental, or you can take it as one more bit of resonance between these seemingly separate character, to reinforce the truth of their deeper identity.

We sometimes speak of our “inner child,” the still present core of innocence, dependency, and need that lives within each of us. The little girl would thus be the inner child of the woman who is making her way to Jesus.