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Discovery Magazine 10/1/1997

Sweat, Science, and the Scriptures!

The Bible tells us that one of those who loved and followed Jesus was a man by the name of Luke, who was a medical doctor (Colossians 4:14). Dr. Luke wrote two different books in the New Testament: the Gospel of Luke, and the Book of Acts. When he wrote his Gospel, this gentle doctor mentioned something that seems very strange when you first read it.

He told of the time when Jesus was about to die on the cross to save people from their sins. Jesus had gone to a beautiful garden (known as Gethsemane) to pray to His heavenly Father. But Dr. Luke wrote: "And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44).

Have you ever heard of anything like that? Do you know anyone who has ever had sweat "like great drops of blood"? As strange as it may sound, it is a fact of science that such a thing really can occur. Scientists have seen case where people actually have sweated blood!

In science, this is known as "hematidrosis" (HE-mat-i-DRO-sis). Here is what it means. Underneath the skin, there are tiny blood vessels known as capillaries (KAP-i-lare-ees). They are so small that it takes about ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair! It is not unusual for people to sweat when they experience stress. Doctors have learned that during times when a person is under extreme amounts of intense stress, capillaries can hemorrhage (HEM-o-rij). This is a fancy way of saying that they burst. When they do, they release small amounts of blood into nearby sweat glands that also are imbedded in the skin. Then, when the sweat is released from the sweat glands, it has blood mixed in with it. And so a person really can have sweat that becomes "like great drops of blood," just like Jesus experienced.

Some people have read things like this in the Bible and said, "That could never happen. It’s impossible!" But hematidrosis shows us that it is possible for a person to sweat drops of blood. Dr. Luke knew exactly what he was talking about! When you read the Bible, remember that it is God’s Word. We should believe it, love it, and share it with our friends.



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