Psalm 56:8b – Put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book? (KJV)
Luke 7:44 – 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. (NIV)
Can you imagine collecting a lifetime of tears in a bottle? How would those tears describe your life? Several weeks ago, I received a lovely email devotional explaining the ancient custom of collecting tears. One individual shared her experience in Jerusalem and the artefacts she obtained, apparently dating back to the time of Christ, among them a tear bottle made from blown glass. Interestingly, these bottles were commonly used to preserve tears during times of grief and were eventually meant to be buried along with a loved one or with its owner.
Reflecting on the ancient practice of collecting tears, the woman in today's Scripture must have had plenty of tears to literally wash the feet of her Saviour. Some scholars believe that because she lived a sinful life until she met Jesus, her tears came from her own tear bottles. Although this is a provoking thought, we will never know for certain. The important point of this story, however, is that the tears she shed were tears of heartfelt repentance.
As I contemplate times of sorrow in my own life, like most people, I have many regrets. Sometimes, we suffer because of things outside our control, yet because we are all sinners, many times we are simply living outside of God's perfect will. In any case, thanks to the God of all compassion, when our hearts are made right before Him, we can move forward with confidence, trusting the Lord in His mercy to redeem us from all evil and to release us from the agony of guilt.
Prayer: Father, during this Lenten season, inspire us to examine our hearts before You. Let the precious blood of Your Son cleanse us from all unrighteousness. May Your Spirit keep us humbly devoted to Your service, now and forever. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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