Standing with her back pressed against the wall, she hardly dared to breathe. She still wasn’t sure how they all didn’t hear her heart pounding in her chest. She had no excuse for being there, and definitely no invitation. Her heart compelled her near him.
There was so much noise, so much conversation, so many things going on to draw their attention away from her. A servant rushed past her toward the kitchen, in a hurry to get more wine on the table. This meeting could last the rest of the day, and his master couldn’t afford to stain his reputation as a host by dishonoring such a guest. She closed her eyes and silently prayed that the servant didn’t recognize her. Thankfully, his eyes were full of apprehension, and could not grasp the memory of her. She exhaled silently, and inched her way closer to the table, trying harder and harder to not bring attention to herself. How in the world had she ever come this far, she wondered.
She was a beautiful woman. She once knew that about herself. Not anymore. She looked around the room at the others. Men surrounded the table, lounging over chairs, on rugs, in the dirt. Every one riveted to the conversation at hand. Women, not commonly invited to dine with the men, were engaged in whispery conversations scattered along the edge of the room. So many distractions, so much to be thankful for.
She moved silently, unnoticed, toward him, head down and her fingers wrapped tightly around the gift she’d brought for him. Determination moved her along the wall toward him, inch by inch. At the moment she came up directly behind him, bodies began shifting like the parting of the Red Sea her mother used to tell her about, and somehow, there was room for her to move nearer still. She said a silent prayer for courage and rushed to him. Shame swooped in to attack her, but fell back into Fear at his penetrating gaze. He had noticed her. There was no way Shame and Fear could work against her now. But Disdain and Accusation were still standing sentinel near the homeowner. Satan had not altogether lost his moment.
She fell at his feet, tears falling shamelessly. Years of anguish and torment found relief in that moment. She kissed his feet. How could she express her love for him? She wept freely, removing the shroud that covered her head and letting her hair fall down her back. The room let out one low, collective gasp. She hardly noticed. He sat watching her as she cried, watching her as she began wiping the tears off of his dusty feet with her beautiful, clean hair. His human heart could hardly contain the joy and adoration. If only she knew how much he loved her.
The room erupted as she pulled out an expensive bottle of perfume. His hand went up and silenced the room at once. The host, driven to his feet in rage, furrowed his brow in consternation. How had she gotten in? Who let her through the door? How had he not noticed her before she got to him? He pressed his jaw together firmly. The smell of perfume did nothing to assuage him. His hardened heart could not accept the glorious reality of what was happening at the other end of the table.
She bent low and kissed his precious feet, then opened the bottle and poured out the perfume. The last thing of value she owned. Completely oblivious to the audience in the room, she lovingly rubbed the perfume into the calluses on his feet. She kissed his feet again, and again, wiped them with her hair. Tears of joy and deliverance poured from her, down her face, dripping onto his feet and then down onto the floor. She emptied herself of years of pain and shame. He looked at her in love.
Finally, she stood, head bent still, and began to turn. Simon couldn’t contain his indignation any longer. A harlot, in his house! “Jesus! She’s a whore! How could you let her touch you?!” Jesus stood, gently touched her chin to lift her face toward his and said, “I forgive you.” Her heart swelled and leapt. Her eyes reverberated a gleam they’d not known since her youth. Joy filled her. Forgiveness crowned her. She turned, head held high, and walked confidently past the accusing stares of the others. He’d accepted her gift. She was free!