Luke 7:37-38 Tear Bottle

Luke 7:37-38
And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Verse 37 Washing of feet, tear bottle, gift. This woman knew that she was a sinner and she knew that Jesus was eating at Simon's house. So, she went to see him and obtain forgiveness. According to the custom, she could not go to a man of God (guru) empty-handed. To three people one cannot go empty handed: priest, pregnant woman and a person sick in the hospital.

In the Old Testament, God says to take
a pot of honey when visiting the prophet. When a man of God visits the home, he is offered a silver tray of flowers, fruit and nuts as he leaves. He chooses a few things off of it. If money is given it is laid at his feet in an envelope (i.e., Acts 5). Easterners love perfumes and this woman brought her costliest to Jesus.

She stood at his feet behind him. Women could not stand equal with men. Easterners do not sit in chairs, they sit on a carpet with their legs crossed and eat food with fingers. The woman began weeping and washing Jesus' feet with tears. Remember, she was standing behind him but she could do this because he was seated on the floor.

How long would it take for her to cry enough tears to wash his feet with. Especially in Jewish homes and homes of some of the primitive tribes that live on the mountains, a tear bottle is kept for each member of the family. It is about six inches long and about an inch and a half wide. It is made so that liquid in it will not evaporate. Whenever a person cries, he collects the tears in the bottle. The bottle is closely protected because when a person is buried, the tear bottle must be buried with him. They believe that any tears shed for a spiritual cause will be rewarded by God. Those are the only tears which go into the bottle. If the house is on fire, the tear bottles are saved first—not the furniture.

In Psalm 56:8, David
mentioned the tear bottle.

     "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?"
It is a disgrace to be buried without the tear bottle. It is the most precious thing
to sacrifice because they believe that the tears shed for the glory of God help them get into heaven.

Why did the woman use her hair to wipe Jesus' feet? A woman's hair is the glory of her head. She was indicating to everyone there that her own glory was good enough only to wash Jesus' feet with. She showed extreme humility. Then she kissed his feet. Eastern men and women are allowed to kiss each other on the forehead, crown of head, cheek, but a kiss on the feet implies confession of sin—even among men when one has wronged another. Any other kiss would be a display of respect or affection.

2:12 says to kiss the son (Jesus Christ). It refers to kissing the feet to ask for forgiveness.

     "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

Not a word
needs to be said when the feet are kissed—both parties understand. Jesus knew the significance of kissing the feet and he said to her, "Thy sins are forgiven."

KC Pillai