September 4, 2020


A woman not noteworthy enough to them to be notorious, crossed the threshold of Simon the Leper’s home.  No trace of hospitality did she find from stoop to stool, for on this day, even a drop of water to wash the feet of Jesus may have been called waste.  No worry was this to her, for she came with welcome in her wake.  She came to bend low at feet weary on the way to the cross.

She bore the hospitality of hope and a pendant upon cord.  Her entrance brought a fragrance, for she had worn the jar of wedding oil for so long, it had begun to leak.  The aroma marked her while removing the odor of shame from the home’s host.

Oil escaped removes shame.  Oil spilled reveals hearts.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume. Quickly came the angry voice like a clanging gong, “Why this waste?”

Maybe they saw not just a waste of money, but a waste of time.  She was well past the age to marry, if only for mortal man did she wait. She had carried her plan in a jar around her neck. Oil for a husband. Without hesitation she shattered it for a new story. What a cost to let security slip through her fingers!

The men judged her, but Jesus was moved. She did the unexpected thing and disregarded the disapproval around the table to give her most beautiful part to Him.  Her adoration. Before them, she beheld him.  There was no shame in her lack of restraint.

She broke her identity open before Him.  She invited Him all the way in.  She was no longer Mary with the flask of oil around her neck, marked by it’s fragrance.  No longer keeper of that oil and what it was meant for.

She wiped His feet with her hair. On this day, with these men, for a woman to let her hair down, outside her own home, was scandalous behavior.  The unwrapping of her hair unraveled them.  Not just a waste, but a disgrace.  But on that night, with the jar in pieces at His feet, all her senses were awakened.  She could no longer avoid who she was as she revealed who He was to her.  Husband. The one she waited for.

That night she was like him.  Just like him. Trembling hands and bursting heart, in an act so intimate, those surrounding them had a choice. To see Him as she did or judge her waste.

Could they not see the lines of His face in those moments as she did, lined with humanity, that which He wore for us? With her recognition, in that moment, He became Christ. Before them.  For us all.

She wiped His feet, her glory to His humanity.  An extravagance called excess.

“Why this waste?”

“She has done what she could.”  The words of a Savior, one come with good news.  Very good news.  Powerfully good news.  He saw her wounds and her wonder.  They saw her waste.

We can mimic what we see or don’t. But the greater work is to go beyond the gospel we inherited to the depths of what we know it is meant to be.  For the gospel isn’t about preference. It’s about purpose.

Jesus said then, “There will always be the poor among you.  I, you will not always have. Especially if you can’t recognize me dripping with oil, on the road to flowing blood.”