Alabaster Box

The Alabaster box was made of marble stone. Within this highly treasured Alabaster box was the ointment known as Myrrh. Myrrh, a white liquid that flows from a tree in Africa and Arabia, was the principal ingredient in the anointing oil used in the Tabernacle and Temple.

In Jewish custom it was also used by those who were condemned to death by crucifixion.* But it was neither the Alabaster box nor its ointment that mattered in this moment.

A woman had come to the house that Jesus was visiting. She came and did only one thing Mark recorded (Mark 14:3-9). She broke this most precious, expensive box and poured it’s equally precious and expensive contents onto the head of Jesus.

This action caused the people around Jesus to become angry, resentful, indignant. ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted?’ they fumed. Jesus response was profound, it revealed his heart. ”Leave her alone. She has done a beautiful thing to Me.” (14:6)

This woman who’s name we’re not even told, did something to Jesus. She did not do something for Him, but to Him.

She ministered to Jesus. She touched Jesus and it was beautiful to Him. Her action was to love Him. It was possible for her to serve Him but she chose to love Him, and it did something to Jesus.

His heart, the most precious thing we can know.

Those around Jesus declared it to be a waste! Their misunderstanding triggered contempt, and they condemned her.

But they misunderstood Jesus too.

These who had been living, eating, walking, breathing everything about Jesus for 3 years. They did not see with eyes for Him. Their eyes saw the oil and it’s worth. They saw the poor. They saw reputation. They saw themselves. Funny how what we see about others, is more a reflection of us than them.

But this oil was wasted over Jesus.

Such has been the invitation over the many years for us. Repeatedly the Lord has said to us, ‘If all you get is Me, is that enough? Am I enough?’ Countless times the Lord asked us to follow Him where all we had was Him. Isn’t this the real essence of faith?

Our lives are precious, our time once gone, cannot return again. We are an alabaster box. Would we waste them on the Lord to simply be with Him?

When there are countless opportunities, programs, conferences and things to do for the Lord, He invites us all to learn to wait on Him, worship Him, love Him for Him not what we can get from Him or even do for Him. To be emptied of ourselves, our agendas, our plans, our works.

A leader from Israel said to us years ago after just settling in Europe, ‘What a waste that you have had limited opportunities to speak to gatherings of people in Europe since being here!’ He paused and then went on. ‘But how else could you, invite people to waste themselves on Jesus, if you had not been wasted yourselves?’

This is the power of the Alabaster box. There is no other focus, no other agenda but that a beautiful thing is done to Jesus, that He is blessed and loved.

This is the pure oil, pure essence of our life as sons and daughters of God.

It is about Him. 

The lady with the Alabaster box made it about Him… and it did something to Him.

Would you ‘waste’ yourself on Him?


Helen Goatley


*from Strong’s Bible Dictionary

*NIV translation used

*This text may only be used with full acknowledgement of this website & permission of the Author