Every family owned a tear bottle. The materials ranged from simple pottery to thin glass. All were made with a slender body, broad at the base with a funnel-shaped top.
When serious trouble or death occurred in a home, relatives arrived with his or her tear bottle. As they wept and wailed, the tears rolling down their cheeks were collected.
The bottle was exceedingly sacred to them, representing all their heartaches, sorrow and bereavement. When a person died, the tear bottle was buried with them.
The woman in the scripture was reacting to the discourteous way in which Christ was treated in the house of Simon the Pharisee. There was no water provided to wash the Lord’s feet, so this simple woman may have poured the contents of her tear bottle over His tired and dusty feet.
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Excerpt from Ancient Minutus