As Jason was mixing up his special soap/oil blend, he accidentally knocked over the bottle of wintergreen oil, one of the few bottles that doesn't contain a stopper. Fortunately, he righted the bottle before much spilled out, but still, there was a substantial puddle left behind. I don't know if you've ever smelled wintergreen oil, but it is very fragrant. I love it. In fact, it's one of my favorite oils, but it is potent. A little bit goes a long way. So you can imagine what a puddle will do!
When I arrived home from teaching my college class Monday night, I opened the door to the house and was immediately overcome by the smell of wintergreen. Noticing the wet dogs, I, at first, assumed the pervasive fragrance was coming from them, but then Jason informed me of the spill, which he hadn't yet had the opportunity to clean up. I helped him to scrape what we could of the spilled contents back into the container, then proceeded to wipe up the counter. I wiped and wiped until I was satisfied no oil remained.
But the next morning, guess what? Before I had even reached the kitchen, the smell attacked me. To this day, several days later, whenever I go near the kitchen, I can smell the wintergreen. At this point, I don't mind. After all, it is a pleasant smell when it's not so completely overwhelming. But I was simply fascinated by how long certain smells can linger. And on the heels of that thought, my mind was drawn to a particular Bible passage.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. - John 12:1-3
From what I've been able to learn, spikenard is described as being "intensely aromatic." So, we're talking about a strong smelling ointment to begin with, but notice the verse says she used an entire pound of it. As I mentioned earlier, Jason and I have learned that a little goes a long way when it comes to essential oils. Otherwise, the fragrance (especially in particular oils) becomes overwhelming to the senses. I cannot imagine using a pound of any of these oils. We typically use a few drops. But a pound? You know it was fragrant because the verse goes on to say the entire house was filled with the odor, and probably remained that way from some time.
Another thing we've learned about the oils is that their fragrance remains even after washing. It's difficult to eliminate the smell. With that thought in mind, isn't it possible that Jesus had the odor of spikenard clinging to Him as He walked up the long road to Calvary? As He hung on that old rugged cross, could He still smell the fragrance on his skin? And when the Father turned away from His own Son, did the smell of spikenard remind Christ that He was loved? Someone loved Him enough to anoint Him with oil. Did the smell bring Him a sense of peace during an hour of such tragedy? I believe so.
Not only that, but Mary bore the fragrance as well. After all, she was the one doing the pouring, and she even wiped the oil in with her hair. I imagine the smell lingered with her for several days. But I don't think Mary minded. After all, she smelled like Jesus. The smell reminded her of her Lord and Savior. The fragrance brought with it the bittersweet thoughts of His sacrifice on the cross. For days, no matter where she went, people would say, "I know that smell. I've smelled it before--just recently, in fact. I know! She smells just like Jesus." And secretly, Mary would smile.
Mary had spent enough time with Jesus and had drawn so close to Him in her worship that she literally smelled like Him. What about us? Do we carry with us the fragrance of love, goodness and mercy? Or do we wreak from the stench of hatefulness, bitterness and pride? When we walk past others, can they tell that we've been with Jesus? Do they see His light in our eyes? Do they hear His words on our lips? Do they feel His love in our actions? Do we smell like Jesus today?