Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Kristi McLelland’s new study, Jesus and Women. Order your copy or see a free sample today at Lifeway.com/JesusAndWomen.
Jewish people read the Scriptures and seek to live them out, not just know them. They want to halakh (walk out) the path of the Lord in accordance with His instructions and laws. When they read something in Scripture, they don’t just ponder it or think about it; they act. They try to embody it in the way they live their lives, sometimes literally. They don’t just believe it in their hearts; they walk it out in their actions.
Psalm 56:8 speaks of tears being collected in a bottle and of God keeping a record of the tears we’ve shed in this life. From the days of the Psalter, about one thousand years before the time of Jesus, some Jewish women took this passage to heart and carried in their possessions a lachrymatory—a tear jar to use in their worship times. The lacrimal duct in our bodies produces our tears.
These Jewish women collect their tears in their tear jars, serving as a tangible way of symbolically collecting their sorrows, sadness, grief, and hurt. They then pour the tear jar out before the Lord in an act of worship, faith, and trust. To pour out one’s tear jar is to pour out one’s whole heart—the sorrow, sadness, and grief. This practice is a visible way of living out—walking out—Psalm 56:8.
In Psalm 56 God gives value to our tears. He tells us He sees every hurt and every sorrow. He tells us He holds our hearts in it all; He walks through it with us. He will bring joy eventually and eternally. In a similar way, the lachrymatory gives value to tears. They are precious to God. They are worth recognizing, and they are worth keeping. They are worth storing up because of the One who can handle all our tears. The One who can hold all of our sadness, grief, sorrow, hurt, and pain can handle it. He can take it.
And He invites you to bring it all to Him and receive His grace and redemption. God wants to generously lift you up and restore what has been broken by this world of pain and sin.
It’s possible the woman in Luke 7 brought two jars to the dinner with Jesus at the home of Simon the Pharisee—two jars for two very different reasons. I think she brought an alabaster jar of expensive perfume to anoint Jesus and a tear jar to pour out her sorrows to Him. In this act of worship, it seems she was recognizing Jesus’ deity, pouring out her tears to Him—the tears Psalm 56 says God sees and keeps record of.
Jesus could handle both, a mixture of anointing oil and a woman’s deepest pain poured out in her tears. We can pour our whole hearts out to Jesus. We can leave it all before Him. We can cast it all upon Him. He can take it, and He wants to take it. When we pour out our hearts to Jesus, He begins generously lifting us up in grace and truth. Like the woman in Luke 7, He can lift us up and send us on our way in peace.
Want to learn more about this new study? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at Lifeway.com/JesusAndWomen.
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