By Joanne Putnam
Have you ever wondered why you cry? Have you ever felt like you would never quit crying? Or are you one of those people who wishes they could cry?
Tears have always been important to God, so much so, that people felt that they should save them in the hope that someday they would formally present them to their maker.
In many of the ancient Jewish tombs, little glass vials have been found. They are approximately one inch wide and three to five inches long. Research has shown that these little bottles, sometimes made of alabaster, once held the tears of loved ones who mourned over their death, as well as their own tears, which were to be presented to God as proof of their worship and sacrifice to Him.
Tears are quite interesting. They are made of a salt-water solution and come from little ducts tucked into the corner of the eye. Tears continually bathe the cornea. They help to clear it of foreign particles such as dust and hairs and keep it from drying out, which would result in blindness. Though mostly a salt solution, tears contain substances that fight bacteria, and proteins that help keep the eye immune to infection. You know from, experience that if you get something in your eye, it immediately closes and tears begin to flow. Tears wash out the foreign object.
Tears do more than bring physical healing to our eyes. Tears bring release, healing and freedom to our soul, if we would just allow them to! Tears come when we show compassion, love, joy and sorrow. We shed them in happy times and in sad times. Sadly, there are times in our lives when we are extremely heavy hearted; yet we hold back from God our true feelings, failing to release them to Him. We refuse to give our tears to Him.
All too often we see men, who from a child, have been told, “Boys don’t cry, only sissies cry.” So they hold feelings and hurts so tightly on the inside that it turns into bitterness and hardness of heart that can ultimately destroy them.
In Psalm 56: 8 & 9, we find David calling out to God. “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book. When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” David was asking God to put his tears in a bottle and record them in His book.
Hezekiah received a word from the Lord as a result of his tears. “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee…” (2 Kings 20:5).
Isaiah, seeking the Lord in 16:9 says, “Therefore, will I bewail with the weeping… I will water thee with tears….”
Job mentions over and over his weeping before the Lord. Job 16:20 says, “My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” Apparently, even in Job’s day, it was disdainful (beneath one’s dignity) for a man to cry.
One of the most precious scriptures, so very short but eternally deep, is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” Many feel that Jesus wept, not because of the death of Lazarus, but rather the unbelief of those He loved that did not understand what He was really telling them. Jesus experienced the same frustrations that we experience; and He expressed them in the same way we do.
Just as Job was scorned for weeping, the Lord was also treated with contempt one day. He was invited to eat at a certain Pharisees house. They had just sat down to eat, when a woman of the city, a sinner, came to the house and stood at Jesus’ feet weeping.
She then knelt before Him and began to wash His feet with her tears. In the fact that she was literally “washing His feet with her tears,” she must have been using more than the tears shed in weeping. I believe she was pouring out her vials of tears upon her God’s feet, not wanting to wait until she died to present them to Him in the next life. Luke says she wiped Jesus’ feet with the hairs of her head and anointed them with precious ointment from an alabaster box.
Those around Him scorned this woman of the city found to be a sinner and in their hearts they hated Jesus for allowing this “shameful” act to take place.
Jesus understood both her humbleness and her sacrifice. He immediately forgave her sins, telling her that her faith had saved her and to go in peace. He then rebuked the Pharisees, for they had not even followed the common courtesy of giving Him water to wash His feet nor had they anointed His head with oil, which was customary to bestow upon every male guest who entered your home. He extolled to them the humbleness of this woman, who washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed His feet with ointment when they couldn’t bring themselves to anoint His head. She truly had given her all to the Lord.
When we approach God, in humbleness of heart, He hears us and will accomplish that which we have need of. Answers come. Healing comes. Salvation comes.
“The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalms 34:17, 18).
“For thou has delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears.” (Psalms 116:8).
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126: 5,6).
“Weeping endureth for a night. But joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
Paul told the New Testament church that he shed many tears in prayer and supplication for them. Evidently it was not beneath his dignity.
Soon there will come a day when tears shall be no more: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…” (Revelations 21:4).
Until our tears are taken away, God has given us a release valve that allows us to cleanse our soul, to minister to others and to show compassion. We may not collect them and put them in bottles, but God sees them none the less and is recording them in His book, the Lamb’s Book of Life!
The above article, “For Those Tears” was written by Joanne Putnam. The article was excerpted from chapter 19 in Putnam’s book, Growing in All the Right Places.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.