The woman came in unexpected and uninvited. It was an outdoor, courtyard meal where the guest of honor was a new Rabbi. The men are reclining at the table with their feet behind them. As she enters, conversation stops. Everyone knows who she is and she knows it. Each face is either staring at her in disgust or looking the other way trying desperately not to make eye contact. Every face but One.
She had heard of Jesus. Heard his voice, heard Him teach and there was something about Him that was different. His compassion with people who were sick and hurting stirred something within her. Something she thought was dead.
She knew the level of her guilt. She felt it from every stare in the room, she felt it coming from every pore of her being. Guilty, GUILTY, dirty, filthy where the whispers in her mind.
She is now standing behind His feet trembling. The tears begin to fall. As they fall, they fall on His dirty feet (that for some reason, no one has washed) and her tears make clean tracks through the dust. She bends, uncovers her hair, hears the collective gasps from the room but does not stop. She wipes his feet clean with her hair. As she cleans she pauses to kiss them and more tears fall.
She had almost forgotten the jar.
Her most prized possession. She had scrimped and saved for months for this alabaster jar of perfume. This jar she anointed herself with between men. And now, she wants nothing more than to give it all to this man. She knows that in order to be clean, she must give it all. There can be nothing left. And so she pours out the contents of the jar until not a drop is left.
Vaguely she hears Jesus speaking but is enraptured in His presence. It isn't until she hears Him speak the words her heart had longed to hear that she stops her flagrant worship. Jesus looks at her with a tender and complete love and says, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
In that moment, the stirring in her heart, the feeling she thought dead, the Hope inside her broke free and she laughed.