She and the Man
Christ in the House of Simon
Dieric Bouts the Elder
Oil on wood, 40,5 x 61 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
She didn’t know she had faith.
She didn’t wonder how much she believed.
She didn’t come looking for forgiveness.
She didn’t think about her sin.
She knew there was a man at Simon’s house.
She knew this man really, truly loved, was love.
She knew what she got and gave with men was not.
She knew she needed love, given and received.
She had a jar of expensive perfume.
She had the hair that showed her station.
She had a hunger for for real true love.
She had nothing else in the world.
She came uninvited – for a change.
She came not for Simon – for a change.
She came to give herself freely – for a change.
She came as a lover – for a change.
She saw the man at the table with Simon.
She saw the man’s feet had rudely not been washed.
She saw an opportunity to give her love effusively.
She saw nothing else through her tears.
She poured all her tears onto the man’s feet.
She poured all her perfume onto the man’s feet..
She poured all her hair onto the man’s feet.
She poured all her love onto the man’s feet.
She felt Simon’s and his guests’ disapproval.
She felt the man’s feet take her tears from her.
She felt something she’d maybe never before felt.
She felt all clean, outside and inside.
She heard the man tell Simon a story.
She heard a story about men forgiven a debt.
She heard a story about love from forgiveness.
She heard – she thought – a story about Simon.
She had given the man the water Simon neglected.
She had given the man the kiss Simon neglected.
She had given the man the anointing Simon neglected.
She had given the man the love Simon neglected.
She now knew the story was about her.
She now knew it was she who was forgiven.
She now knew there was a man she could trust.
She now knew how faith works in love.
She didn’t have anything left to lose.
She didn’t have anything left to need.
She didn’t have anything left but love.
She didn’t come back to Simon’s house again.