While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman (Mary) came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another. “Why this waster of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebukes her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. ” Why are you bothering her?” She has done a beautiful thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Mark 14:3-9
Spikenard, also called nard, nardin, and muskroot, is a class of aromatic, amber-colored essential oil derived from Nardostachys jatamansi, a flowering plant which grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China, and India. The oil, since ancient times has been used as a perfume, as a medicine, and in religious contexts, as an anointing oil. In the New Testament, two days before the Passover, Mary, sister of Lazarus anoints Jesus head. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar, and contained nard. And it was Judas Iscariot, keeper of the moneybag, who asked why the ointment was not sold for three hundred denarii instead. (about a year’s wages for an average agricultural worker of that age in time).