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Title: The Woman Who Washed the Saviour's Feet

Date of first publication: 1849

Author: Favell Lee Mortimer (1802-1878)

Date first posted: July 21 2012

Date last updated: July 21 2012

Faded Page eBook #20120722

This eBook was produced by: L. Harrison & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

The images for this eBook were provided courtesy Special Collections, University Libraries, Ball State University






No. 21.










[Pg 1]


A woman washing the feet of another



When the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived in this world, some people hated him, and some people loved him. Do you think you should have loved [Pg 2] him? He was very kind, and gentle, and meek. You think you should have loved him. But I must tell you something else about him,—he hates sin; he has seen all the naughty things you have done. Should you love him?

I will tell you the reason why some people loved him, and why some people did not. It is this: people who were sorry for their sins loved him, people who were not sorry did not.

There was a woman who had committed a great many sins. People thought her very bad. One day, when Jesus was sitting at dinner in a rich man's house, she went in, and she came behind him, and she stood there crying. What made her cry? It was her sins; she was sorry that she had often been very wicked. Jesus was lying on a sofa at dinner, for it is the custom in some hot countries to [Pg 3] lie down when you eat. He was not lying down quite flat; he sat up resting on his elbow, but his feet were upon the sofa. The poor woman began to wash his feet—not with water, not in a basin—but with her tears. And how did she wipe them? With her own long hair. Then she kissed his feet, and poured sweet stuff called ointment on them.

The man who had invited Jesus to dine with him was called Simon; he was a proud man; he was angry when he saw the poor woman showing so much love to the Lord, and he thought in his heart, "If Jesus were really so wise as people think, he would know what sort of a woman that is, and he would not let her touch him." Did Jesus know what sort of a woman she was? Oh, yes; he knew all the bad things she had ever done, and he had forgiven her—quite [Pg 4] forgiven her. Jesus saw into the woman's heart; he saw that she loved him for having forgiven her. He saw into the heart of the proud Simon; he knew all he was thinking about, so he asked him a question. First he told him a little history. He said, there were two men who owed some money; one owed a great deal, the other a very little. A kind man to whom they owed the money, said to both the men, "You need not pay me." "Which would love the kind man the best, the man who owed much, or the man who owed little?"

Simon answered, "The man who owed much will love the most." Was that a right answer? Jesus said it was a right answer. Why did Jesus ask Simon this question? To show why the woman loved him so much. She loved him because she felt she had done a great [Pg 5] many bad things, and that Jesus had forgiven all. And why did not Simon love him? Because he did not think he had done bad things; he thought he was very good, but he was not really good; he had behaved very rudely to the Lord. It was the custom in that hot country always to bring water in a basin to wash the feet of your friends before they sat down to dinner; and it was the custom to kiss your friends when they came to see you, and to pour some sweet oil upon their heads. Simon had done none of these things to Jesus. But the woman had washed his feet with tears, and had kissed them, and had poured ointment on them.

And why did the woman love the Lord so much? Jesus told Simon the reason; "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven." That was the reason she loved [Pg 6] the Lord so much. Then Jesus said to the woman, "Thy sins are forgiven." How glad that poor woman must have been to hear Jesus with his own kind and gentle voice say to her, "Thy sins are forgiven!" Would she ever forget those words? Would she be afraid to die?

But the men who sat at the table were angry when they heard those words; they thought that Jesus could not forgive sins; they did not believe that he was the Son of God; they did not know that his Father had sent him down here to be nailed to a cross of wood, and to die for our sins.

Jesus did not answer those wicked men, but he spoke again to the woman. He said, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." Oh, what a happy woman she was! she was saved from hell by faith, that is, by believing in Jesus. This [Pg 7] is the only way to be saved. We have all done more sins than there are hairs upon our head, but if we believe that Jesus died for our sins we shall be saved. It is not enough to say, "We believe," we must believe with our hearts, then we shall love Jesus and hate sin.

A little girl of five years old once said to her mother, "Do you know when I feel the happiest?" Her mother answered, "I suppose when you are good." "No," said she, "but when I feel very sorry for having been naughty, and that God has forgiven me." That young child was like this poor woman; she knew she was a sinner, and she loved her Saviour.

You may read this history in Luke vii. 36 to the end.

[Pg 8]

Oh! tell me who is standing there,
With weeping eyes and flowing hair,
And box of ointment sweet;
Now on the ground she's bending low,
Her tears yet fast and faster flow—
They fall on Jesus' feet.
Ah! she whose love is now so strong,
Has wander'd far, has wander'd long,
And from her God has gone;
But now with willing feet returns,
And now with deepest sorrow mourns
The deeds that she has done.
To her dear Lord such love she bears,
His feet she washes with her tears,
And wipes them with her hair;
And then, with pious tenderness,
Fond kisses ceases not to press,
And pours the ointment rare.


Macintosh, Printer, Great New-street, London.


O Father in Heaven,
Thou hast made all things;
The sun, moon, and stars, the land and sea.
Thou hast made me.
Thou hast taken care of me.
I thank Thee for all thy kindness.
Great God, Thou art in every place;
Thou seest in the dark,
As well as in the light;
Thou knowest all the naughty things
That I have done, and said, and thought.
O Merciful Lord, pardon my sins,
Because Jesus Christ, thy dear Son,
Died upon the cross for sinners.
Give me thy Holy Spirit,
That I may love Thee, and obey thy laws.
Keep me from minding Satan,
And save me from going to hell:
And whenever I die,
O take my soul to Heaven.
When Jesus comes with clouds,
And with the holy angels,
May I be glad to see Him.
May my dear parents, and brothers, and sisters,
Be happy with Thee for ever and ever.
May all people love Thee,
And speak of thy goodness.
Hear me for Christ's sake.    Amen.

[The end of The Woman Who Washed the Saviour's Feet by Favell Lee Mortimer]