Dr. Nelsy Alvarado doesn't always use her prescription pad to provide women what they need. She sees more than just physical symptoms, and often it is a healing word, rather than a pill, that remedies contaminants like fear, hopelessness, and powerlessness.
In Mark 5, a woman touches Jesus -- a woman who is "unclean" and therefore not allowed to touch anyone or even enter a house. She has been lonely, impoverished, and frustrated for twelve years. In an instant, the woman's physical problem is healed; verse 29 says that the source of her blood dried up.
Jesus didn't get on to her for touching him. He didn't condemn her for "contaminating" him with her uncleanliness. Instead, he saw that there was still more pain to heal - isolation, rejection, anger, depression, hopelessness - he saw everything that was there. So he spoke to her, and restored the woman's dignity and place in the community, with a word, "Daughter, go in peace."
Jesus is admirably efficient; he has divine ability to see exactly what pain is hidden inside. We can not see what others choose to hide from us, especially when we contentedly choose to remain on the fringes of people's lives. But as we delve into relationship, invest in people, we can begin to see what is hidden there -- just as Nelsy manages the intimate vulnerabilities of her patients, and the barriers come down, she sees what was hidden before. And she can practice Jesus' example of holistic care. And so can you and I.
People often ask what is different about the Lazarus Clinic, about Mission Lazarus as a whole. It's only, and exactly, this: Leadership as Jesus' practiced, means going deep. Jesus is not satisfied with a band-aid; he desires complete healing, of each and every one, even if it takes a lifetime of words and touch to achieve.
"Coming to the clinic was really important because they told me what was wrong and I feel that this is the work of Jesus here, in no other place exists an opportunity for help like this." - Alexi Pastrana, surgical patient in women's health program.