In short, hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating. Usually of the hands, underarms and other areas of the body. The keyword is excessive. If there is no underlying medical issues, it is generally considered to be hereditary or genetic condition. I have hyperhidrosis of the head. Long before I start sweating elsewhere, I will sweat from my head. My mother had this condition. It is not life threatening, but it is embarrassing and very inconvenient. For this reason I do not wear hats or cover my head. Only during cold, Winter weather will I cover my head. If I’m working hard like shoveling snow, I do not want to cover my head or else I start sweating “like a pig”.
My sweat is heavy and pours and drips onto my face and stings in my eyes and, worst yet, gets into my hearing aids. It is a constant battle for me to keep my aids dry because sweat can start quickly and heavy. At the same time I will not be sweating from my underarms or anywhere else near as much. Prolonged exercise will finally cause me to sweat everywhere, but it doesn’t take much to get me started sweating around my head. It can be heavy drops and create rivulets of sweat. It can be like I’ve been wounded and I’m bleeding to death.
So, when I read Luke 22:44 I can relate to what was happening to Jesus.
Luke 22:44 “Jesus was full of pain; he struggled hard in prayer. Sweat dripped from his face like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (ERV)
No, I never sweat around my head while praying. I need to be overheated, hot and very uncomfortable before I start sweating like blood. I do my very best to avoid those situations outside of physical exercises and the like. Why? I need to protect my hearing aids. Besides, it’s very embarrassing. Jesus knew what was going to happen to him. It’s not hard to imagine that knowing of his impending death by crucifixion would cause mental anguish and pain.
My hyperhidrosis gives me personal experience and understanding of how Jesus could have sweated like bleeding blood. So, why do people keep saying he actually sweated blood? Scripture does not say, “Dripped blood from his face”, it says “Sweat dripped from his face”. Maybe not personally having hyperhidrosis of the head may make other people think more of blood than sweat. Maybe sweating blood instead of sweat makes for more dramatic reading. But, that is not the correct reading of any translation you can find for this verse. I can tell you that my sweat condition easily reminds me of bleeding from the head. Even wearing a headband will not work for me because it will become soaked and overwhelmed by the amount of my sweat. God has given me this condition to make me more dependent on him, but also to teach me obedience, patience and discipline. Obedience comes from keeping self-control over my frustration or anger. Patience from enduring the condition and not allowing it to change me. Discipline by learning how to manage it as best can be through preparation and self-awareness.
In a very small way, I think I can imagine Jesus sweating heavily, like uncontrolled bleeding, during his prayer. His prayer had to be deeply felt to cause him to sweat like blood from the head. That is how much Jesus loved us. He was willling to die a painful death on the Cross to pay the price for our sins. He gave up his life for us. He prayed for that “cup” to be taken away, but he also knew it was his Father’s will. He knew the only way our sins could be removed and paid for, was by the actual shedding of his blood on the Cross.