The woman with the jar of expensive perfume

meditation by Alan Jameson

Prayer -

God of steadfast love, we give you thanks. Your love does not fade; its strength endures, stretching out across history, beyond time and space. Such love we cannot grasp; we can only marvel at a love so big. We thank you for your great love.     Amen.

Reading -  Mark 14:3-9

This incident, which Jesus described as ‘a beautiful thing’, appears in each of the Synoptic gospels [Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; Luke 7:36-50] giving the same message but with slight differences in detail as to whose house it took place in, whether the perfume was first poured over Jesus’s head or feet and were his disciples present. Luke’s version takes place earlier in Jesus’s ministry rather than in the final week.

The message seems to me to be telling of the insight of this sinful woman, who is not named, that told her what would become of Jesus and even though her perfume was very expensive she needed to use it in this seemingly extravagant way despite what the on-lookers thought or said. At the end of it all Jesus, knowing her life style, forgave her saying “your faith has saved you – go in peace”.

There are times when I have felt very strongly about an action to take knowing that initially it may not go down too well with those around me but I have felt compelled to do it and it has ultimately worked out to have been the right course of action at that time. I was clear in my mind that it was God’s will for me to do it. God has a habit of speaking to us in a myriad of ways to which we need to be sensitive and go forward in his strength.   

Hymn - Master, speak! Thy servant heareth

Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,

Waiting for Thy gracious word,

Longing for Thy voice that cheereth;

Master! let it now be heard.

I am listening, Lord, for Thee:

What hast Thou to say to me?


Speak to me by name, O Master,

Let me know it is to me;

Speak, that I may follow faster,

With a step more firm and free,

Where the Shepherd leads the flock,

In the shadow of the rock.


Master, speak! Though least and lowest,

Let me not unheard depart;

Master, speak! For O, Thou knowest

All the yearning of my heart,

Knowest all its truest need:

Speak! and make me blest indeed.


Master, speak! and make me ready,

When Thy voice is truly heard,

With obedience glad and steady

Still to follow every word.

I am listening, Lord, for Thee:

Master, speak! O, speak to me!


‘Listening’ by William C Gannet (1840-1923)                                                      

I hear it often in the dark,
I hear it in the light,
Where is the voice that calls to me
With such a quiet might?
It seems but echo to my thought,
And yet beyond the stars;
It seems a heart-beat in a hush,
And yet the planet jars !

Oh! may it be that far within
My inmost soul there lies
A spirit sky, that opens with
Those voices of surprise?
And can it be, by night and day,
That firmament serene
Is just the heaven where God Himself,
The Father, dwells unseen?

O God within, so close to me
That every thought is plain,
Be Judge, be Friend, be Father still,
And in Thy heaven reign!
Thy heaven is mine, my very soul!
Thy words are sweet and strong;
They fill my inward silences
With music and with song.

They send me challenges to right,
And loud rebuke my ill;
They ring my bells of victory,
They breathe my " Peace, be still! "
They ever seem to say, "My child,
Why seek Me so all day;
Now journey inward to thyself,
And listen by the way."

Prayer: -

Go with joy wherever God may send you. Be strong in your faith, bold in your decisions and thankful in your acknowledgement that Jesus is your guide, your companion and your Saviour.  Amen.