She is a sinful woman clothed with shame and covered with lust stains. She is uninvited because she is a woman and even more because she is that woman.

And yet here she enters, filled with trembling boldness, her most prized possession in hand.

Head down, she slinks into the home of the Pharisee Simon who is sharing a meal with Jesus. His guests are staring and whispering, and it is all a familiar chorus. She is unclean.

But love draws her.

She comes. As a servant, holding need like a cloak about her shoulders, eyes focused on the Master, cradling her alabaster jar.

And then he speaks, and she comes closer. His voice is a river, a whisper, a great sea, a knife. She feels the sting of being so close and then the trickle of life. Filling dry, trodden places.

And she is afraid.

But the words from his lips are life. She feels them washing over her and washing in her. Touching heart-depths she’s never let a man touch.

And she is afraid.

But she comes still closer to his feet. He is so close. And he knows her.

He knows her.

Now she is crying on his feet, and she cannot stop the tears and shame and rage and the pain of her sin and the sin against her that come spilling out.

She is a sinner, and she loves this man Jesus.

The prized jar at her side suddenly feels too small to speak.

The woman removes her head cover and pulls her hair from the knot at the back of her neck and lets it fall around shoulders. Her heart swells.

This thick seduction crown is new. No more a tool of trade, these strands in her hands are now an instrument of praise. She weeps as she wipes his feet with her long silken hair. I love you Jesus, she cries under tears and through lips that kiss his feet, kiss his feet.

She uncorks the bottle, and the smell of holy ointment fills the room. Eyes turn to look as drops of nard dribble, then flow from the jar to Jesus’ dirt-smeared feet.

Her hair, her tears, her lips, this treasure.

Love and gratitude, body, spirit — they are all for Jesus.

She feels the flow making dead new, old alive, shame holy, sin forgiven.

He looks to this daughter at his feet, eyes cradling her. “Your faith has saved you,” he says. “Go in peace.”

And so she does.

In holy clothes. Skin smelling of peace, hair dripping with oil, eyes alive with hope. For she has seen Jesus.

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