The Sinful Woman Who Washes Jesus' Feet
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisees's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. The she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner. Jesus answered him, Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two men owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
Simon replied, "I supposed the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
Is anyone else at least a little teary eyed right now?
This is such a beautiful story with so many lessons to be learned. It says that the woman lived a sinful life in her town. It doesn't say what she did or why she was "sinful" and I suppose it really doesn't matter. In my imagination she was probably an adulteress or a prostitute... it seems that was a common way for a woman to get into trouble in those times. I think the fact that it doesn't state her sin makes her even more relatable. We all know what it is like to be a sinner...
She heard that Jesus would be at Simon's house and she obviously knew who he was and that she needed to see him. It strikes me that she approached him from behind and began to weep. She was coming before him broken and longing for forgiveness. Was she not facing him because of her shame? Did she not feel worthy to approach him face to face? I know I have been there before. As she wept she wiped his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. This is such an incredibly raw and personal moment. I think of times in my life where I have literally been on my knees in tears... She came prepared with a jar of perfume, likely something that was of great value to her, and as she kissed his feet she also poured perfume on them.
It basically says that Simon couldn't believe that this was happening, that if Jesus really was who he said he was he would know who was touching him. She was "that" girl, the sinner, the dirty one... we as girls know a variety of nasty words that could be interjected here to describe her. We've heard them or we've said them ourselves about someone else. Surely she wasn't even worthy of washing his feet.
Jesus replied with a story, which he commonly did to help people understand a point he wanted to make. He helped Simon answer his own question by showing him just how worthy this woman really was of being in his presence and opening Simon's eyes to the reality of the situation. He pointed out to Simon that she showed him more hospitality in Simon's own home than Simon did. He knew exactly who she was and he knew her heart. And most importantly, he forgave her.
Father, please show us as your daughters how incredibly precious we are to you. When we feel broken and unclean, remind us that all we need to do is fall at your feet in worship and you will forgive us. Thank you for your never-ending grace and mercy! Amen