But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18
Mary wept in deep personal sorrow over Jesus’ death. He was her teacher and beloved friend. The one who had liberated her from inner torment and given her boundless freedom from demonic possession. Her tears had likely flowed in gratitude then and they flowed now as she grieved the loss of her Lord.
When she finds out his body is missing her greatest hope would only be to recover it for a proper burial. But at the sound of her name on his tongue she gets much more. She doesn’t get what she seeks: a dead teacher. She gets so much more: a living gardener. Bringer of life. Nurturer of souls. Cultivator of abundant life.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for her to hear her name spoken? Mary. She immediately responds by embracing him and not letting go. Jesus turns her tears into new life. A new hope. And a new purpose. She is charged with the task of bringing the incredible news of this miracle to the disciples. Her weeping turns to witnessing.
Today, take a small container with you on a walk by a stream or river. Stoop down beside the water and scoop some of it up with the container. Now pour some water over your other hand or on a nearby plant. As you watch the water being poured out think of it being your sorrows, your tears poured out. Praise Jesus for saving you from the destruction of sin and turning your mourning into joy. Think about his life being the well of eternal salvation where no one who comes to him will thirst again. He is the living water, absorbing all our temporary tears.
By Ellen Rosenberger