Props: pitchers of water, several water glasses, punch bowl, small table/stand
When we pour a glass of water or a cup of coffee, we are usually careful. We want our glass to be more than half full, but not so full that it overflows and makes a mess. (pour water so the glass is almost full) We don’t want it to spill while we carry it to our chair. We don’t want to make a mess and stain the carpet, and especially we don’t want to waste it.
But what if we dare to be careless and let the beverage pour out over the top? Does it really matter? Won’t a towel take care of the mess? Isn’t there more water in the pipes? Can’t we make more coffee? Can’t we get more of whatever it is at the store? (let the water overflow)
A few nights after Lazarus has been raised form the dead. Mary and Martha are still glowing with relief and gratitude. They are filled with love for Jesus and the gift he has given them by bring Lazarus back to life. Lazarus is there at the party with them, celebrating life. He is pouring the wine, letting it overflow as his joy overflows at being back with his family. (Pour water into a glass. Let it overflow.)
That night, Mary had a jar of fragrant oil – very expensive stuff. We don’t know why she has it – maybe it was a gift; maybe it was part of her dowry; maybe it was left from the burial of a family member.
She sat at Jesus’ feet and opened the jar. She poured it onto his feet, massaging it into the calluses and cracks. Bending over his feet, it was hard to keep her hair from the oil. She did not worry about it. As she worked the oil into Jesus’ feet, she poured out her love for him. (Pour water into a glass. Let it overflow.)
Judas objected to the waste of the oil, complaining that it could have been used to feed the poor. John adds the note that Jesus was a thief, so his complaint was just for show. In response, Jesus says to let Mary alone. She has anointed him for his burial.
At this point, no one but Jesus knows that he will soon be killed and then raised from death. He has mentioned it several times; he has told the disciples that he must suffer and die, and on the third day he will be raised from the dead. It will be another week or more before they all realize how true Jesus’ words were. That night, however, no one was thinking about death; they were all celebrating life and praising God for the miracle they had witnessed.
In just a few days, Jesus and the disciples would be eating another meal together. Before the meal, Jesus will pour the water as it overflows on the feet of the disciples. He will kneel on the floor to wash their feet just as Mary has anointed his feet. Jesus will pour out his service to them just as Mary has poured out the fragrant oil.
(Pour water into a glass. Let it overflow.)
A few hours after that, Jesus will be arrested and then die on the cross, pouring out his life for them and for us. Jesus’ life overflows upon us so we may know what a relationship with God looks like. It looks like love, pouring out upon all of us, upon all of creation. It looks like God’s people pouring out God’s love upon each other, and on those who don’t know they need or deserve God’s love. It looks like service; it looks like humility; it looks like putting God first in our lives, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Some of us have a lot; some of us have a little. We all have Jesus’ love. We can all reflect on sharing what we have with others. I invite you to consider: What do you have that you can pour out upon Jesus, sharing your love with him? What do you have that you can pour out upon others, so Jesus’ love can pour out on them, too? (Pour water into a glass. Let it overflow.)