Those Words -"She Did What She Could" - The Warrior's Journey®

Those Words -“She Did What She Could”

Author: Brenda Pace, Author of "Journey of a Military Wife"

iraq. Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

Think about those words. “She did what she could.”

And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her.

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mark 14:3–9)

The Cost of Oil

At face value, it is hard to grasp the custom, but in Jesus’ day, it was common for olive oil to be poured on the heads of guests as a symbol of honor and a rite of refreshment. The oil was soothing to dry, parched skin. In Mark 14:3–9 Jesus was at a dinner party with friends and a woman entered the room carrying a jar filled not even with common oil but with expensive perfume. She broke the jar and drenched Jesus with it. Her action was as extravagant as the contents of the jar.

The onlookers, perhaps concerned to look good before the rabbi, were quick to scold the woman. They saw her excessive offering as a waste of valuable resources. Jesus stopped their attack, and then he said these words: “She has done what she could.”

What I Could

Think about those words. “She did what she could.”

A doctor says “I did what I could” when a patient dies.

A parent says “I did what I could” when a child goes astray.

I say “I did what I could” when I need an excuse for not doing my best.

“I did what I could” is a phrase of resignation when I am not able to do what needs to be done when I can only do a portion of an assignment.  Only when I cannot do enough, do I say those words.

When Jesus uttered that phrase it was not to criticize the woman for not doing enough. On the contrary, she did exactly what she needed to do.

The Spirit of God was orchestrating every event of the week that led to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Spirit motivated this woman to serve Jesus in an extravagant manner. Jesus saw it as anointing him for burial, pointing to his imminent crucifixion. That’s why the memory of her act is associated with the proclamation of the gospel.

When you put all you can do in the hands of the Lord, he can make it more than enough.


What are some words that come to mind when you think of the woman’s actions toward Jesus? What words describe your actions toward Jesus this week?

Prayer for the Journey

Lord, give me a sensitive and sacrificial heart toward you in gratitude for all you have done for me. Amen.

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