The Alabaster Jar

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading


Giving Everything

Six days before the Passover, and five days before Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. They prepared a dinner for him. Lazarus was there and Martha served the food. That evening, Mary brought out a costly perfume which was made of pure nard—perhaps the same anointing oil she had used on Lazarus as he lay dead in the tomb. Recklessly, she snapped off the neck of the alabaster jar. She had no intention to keep any of it.

Immediately, the strong, exotic scent filled her nostrils and she kneeled, the same way she did before when she wept in front of Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb. She sat at the feet of the teacher—her teacher—the man who chose and loved her, who raised her brother from the dead. Mary performed a prophetic act and anointed Jesus for his burial six days later.

Slowly, ever so slowly, she untied her hair.

Jewish women would tie up and cover their hair—the only person who could see a woman’s hair uncovered was her husband. In the act of wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair, she is saying to everyone, Jesus is like my husband.

Gently, she wiped his feet with her hair; as if time stood still, as the whole house was full with the fragrance of the perfume, this woman gave Jesus everything. Not only did she give the expensive perfume, probably the most valuable thing her family owned, but she also gave herself.

She was utterly undone.

A life poured out; giving everything.