The Grateful Girl: Part Six in a Seven-Week Bible Study For Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

The Grateful Girl: Mary Anoints Jesus’ Feet

Read: John 12:1-8

It seems as if every time we meet Mary of Bethany, she’s at the feet of Jesus.

Two weeks ago, we met her sitting there, listening to his every word, and this week, we’ll find her not just sitting at his feet, but kneeling, as she takes his feet in her hands and anoints them. It’s one brave, bold, beautiful act for the man she loves and is soon to lose.


This beautiful story takes place in the home of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary. Jesus’ days on earth are coming to an end, and Mary, watching and waiting in the wings as Jesus and his disciples gather for a meal, seems to sense that.

Hear the story of The Grateful Girl as I describe it for children in the pages of Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart.

Mary was worried. She knew something terrible was going to happen to Jesus. Everyone in Jerusalem knew it. You only had to shop in the marketplace or walk in the streets to hear the whispers and lies people were telling about him. Jesus had enemies. And one day soon, Mary knew that Jesus would die.

What could she do? What could Mary give to Jesus to show how much she loved him? And then, Mary saw it. The big, beautiful alabaster jar that was full of expensive perfume. She would give that to Jesus!

Mary peeped through the open door where Jesus sat at the table having dinner with his disciples. Carefully, she carried the jar and crept quietly into the room. Without a sound, she knelt on the floor and poured the perfume over Jesus’ feet. A wonderful scent rose in the air. It traveled over the table, curled around the curtains, and filled the room like a whisper of love.

“What are you doing? The men around the table cried. “That is expensive perfume! What a waste!”

But Jesus smiled at Mary, as she dried his feet with her hair. “Leave her alone,” Jesus said softly. “Mary has done a beautiful thing for me. What she has done today will always be remembered.”

In that moment, Mary’s worries disappeared. Her heart filled with a peace she had never known before. And even though the scent of the perfume would soon be gone, the peace that Jesus brought to her heart would last forever.

Mary had poured out her perfume. Jesus had poured out his peace.

Don’t you wish you could have been there in that room to witness that beautiful scene, to smell the scent of the perfume, to see the look of shock on the men’s faces, to hear Jesus as he rose to Mary’s defense, to feel the peace in his words?

Mary must have had no regrets. She risked her reputation, flung caution to the wind and was rewarded with the certain knowledge that what she had done for Jesus would always be remembered.

And it was.


God, who sent Jesus into this world to whisper truth into the heart of Mary, whisper truth to me. And then show me what beautiful thing I can do for him. Amen.

Questions For Reflection:

  • Do you think Mary planned to do this act for Jesus or not?
  • How do you think Martha might have reacted?
  • What beautiful thing could you do for Jesus?
  • What is God revealing to you in this story?

Going Deeper:

  • Compare the two accounts of this story from  John and MatthewWhat more do you learn?

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6 thoughts on “The Grateful Girl: Part Six in a Seven-Week Bible Study For Women

  1. Anita

    From the story it appears that Mary did plan to “give” the perfume to Jesus, but perhaps not in the way she actually did. She may have changed her plan when she saw them eating together and washing his feet wouldn’t interrupt the meal as much as presenting a gift?
    I imagine Martha would have scolded Mary for intruding since she is the “practical” sister.
    I hope that I am always open to doing something beautiful (good, encouraging” when I meet someone or spend time with them. I try to be positive and smile and listen more than talk.
    This story reminds me to enjoy my family and friends while they are with me and don’t be afraid to “spoil” them and take time to just be with them instead of hurrying around to cook, clean, etc.

    1. Glenys Post author

      I love the idea of not being afraid to ‘spoil’ your family. It’s an unfortunate word, isn’t it? We all agree that it might be best not to spoil our children when they’re growing up, but when I think of it in the context you mention, if we were to shower love on our family, it wouldn’t ‘spoil’ them would it? It would do the opposite… it would strengthen our relationships and spread love!

    2. Lori

      I like your understanding of this story, Anita and I couldn’t agree more. I agree with you and Glenys, also that when we shower love we don’t spoil but we are told that this is what we are doing. I am trying to do the same when my family meets; to leave the “hurrying” and enjoy and love.

      1. Glenys Post author

        And you’ll never regret doing that Lori, you as I’m sure Mary never regretted her actions either. It must have been a truly wonderful memory for her to hold on to.

  2. Mary Jane

    I have been very busy going, coming and doing and did not get a comment in. That is our problem isn’t it?!! Too busy and that is not a good excuse. We do what we really want to do, I am told.
    Mary really wanted to honor her special friend, Jesus. I cannot imagine pouring perfume and washing anyone’s feet with my hair, even though I used to have hair long enough 🙂
    But what a blessing it was for her and for Jesus. We often are doing for others and, maybe even, pride ourselves on “doing.” But in the end WE are the ones blessed by them!!
    May it ever be so!!


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