There are two similar stories in the Bible, which have touched me deeply, especially in recent months. The first is found in Luke 7, and the second in John 12. Each of these stories describes women who loved Jesus, coming to him and anointing his feet with oil. The first woman was a prostitute who was sorry for her sins and knew that Jesus had come to forgive them. The second was Mary, a beloved friend of Jesus who knew he was the Messiah. The passion that each of these women demonstrate has always astonished me. Why did they do such a thing? Why would they pour out precious oil on his feet?
For some years I never understood those stories, but recently I have met people to whom I am extremely grateful. Each one of them has been so incredibly kind to me that it has brought me to tears. These two people live a very long way from me and I rarely get to see them in person. That makes being with them more special than almost anything else in my life. With one of them in particular, I am ever more reminded of those two stories, and of Jesus’ words about Mary. “Let her alone. . .The poor you have with you always, but you don’t always have me.” (John 12:7 MSG) I gave this person a present and was so eager to spend time with him in a way that I hardly am eager to spend time with anyone. Time with him is so precious because he is kinder to me than anyone I have ever met, and also because I can only see him once out of the year, and for a very short amount of time at that. These two stories have touched me so much because I know what it is that they felt, and because of that I have learned how sweet time with Jesus really is.