I can see her now, quietly entering the room, hovering by the door. Unsure and anxious to enter this sanctuary of God, where God ate with men. Hesitant even to enter where a healed leper reclined with Him.
She wavers, clutches her flask a bit more tightly and I can see her face set with determination as she places one foot forward. Then He looks up.
He looks her full in the face and meets her gaze open and bright, though she knows she should drop her eyes in shame. But his eyes twinkle a welcome to her and a silent nod of His head bids her come to Him and do what she intends. Full of resolve, she hurries forward before she loses the courage and comes to Jesus.
She can feel the eyes of the the other men, and feels aghast that she has done this thing, even entering as if an equal into their fellowship.
Oh but His eyes tell her all she needs to know, and that she is equal - equal in brokenness, equal in guilt, equal in shame. And in her grief over her brokenness, she cracks her greatest treasure, this flask of beauty.
A pleasing aroma fills the room, of hyacinth and lilac, of cinnamon and honey, of pomegranates, of grapes of... The air full of a beauty she has clutched and dreamed of for years. She lifts the broken clay over His head and lets the beauty pour over, running in streams through His hair, His beard, over His ears, now to His shoulders and dripping over his robe and pooling small on the floor.
The men around her let out their held breath in a communal gasp of surprise.
Before, she'd have feared to turn and meet their eyes, surely full of judgment for her extravagant waste, judgment for her past, judgment for her present. But now...she stood rapt at the beauty in the eyes of her Forgiver, the One worth her hidden longings, the receiver of her long held dreams. He instead was her new dream.
And I wonder: what great treasure can I "waste" on Him today?
We decided to observe Lent this year for the first time and can I recommend Walter Wangerin Jr.'s beautiful book titled Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark? When Ann Voskamp's recommendation read the following, I knew it was a good place to start: "Walter Wangerin's words are poetic sharp words worth a tree, kindling the heart to the inestimable worth of Christ."