To soak or soaking has numerous definitions and connotations, but I will mention a few of my favorites that are relevant to our teaching. Soak is defined as:
- To make or allow (something) to become thoroughly wet by immersing it in liquid.
- To place or keep in liquid in order to saturate thoroughly.
- To wet thoroughly, to saturate or drench.
- To permeate thoroughly, as liquid or moisture does.
- To heat a piece for reworking.
- To permeate, to penetrate or affect the mind or feelings.
- To extract or remove by soaking, or to remove something by immersing it for a period of time.
Other synonyms of soak or soaking are as follows:
Immerse, steep, submerge, submerse, dip, dunk, bathe, douse, marinate, souse.
Let that sink in for a minute! Ponder the meaning and relevancy of soaking as we consider the context within scripture to gain understanding of this concept in worship.
Let us consider the first example concerning Jesus, recorded in all four Gospels. Many have argued that this is a different woman presented in these four accounts, but I believe they are the same woman, and each eyewitness brings to light different perspectives of the same event. Immerse yourself in this story.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26: 6-13
In Matthew’s account, she anoints the head of Jesus with her expensive perfume, which points to Jesus as the Head of the Church as well as His Kingly Role. Jesus recognizes that this soaking of perfume was to prepare him for the sacrifice and the death he was about to endure. I believe soaking has to do with the preparation for death, death to self, death to the cross we are commanded to bear, death to our sin nature, and the price and the cost of the destiny and fulfillment or our God Given purpose in the earth. Salvation is free to those who believe, but our destiny will cost us everything! Incidentally, as women were considered property in Jesus’ time, she did not give of someone else’ property, she gave of her own, and her most expensive gift to adorn Jesus! Are we willing to do the same? Let’s visit Mark’s account for additional insight.
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 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
Again Mark records that this woman came with her very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. Interesting that he records the purity of her gift. She anointed his head, but Mark notices that she had to break the jar in order for the purity of the expensive perfume to be poured out. Sometimes the breaking must occur for the purity of our worship and the most expensive gift to be poured out. Jesus also emphasized the beauty of her gift and that she poured out her perfume on him before his death to prepare him for it.
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7: 36-50
Luke’s account emphasizes that this woman was a sinful woman and she anointed his feet with her tears and with her hair, as she stood behind him. Jesus revealed her great love for him as she was forgiven much, and her sins were forgiven. Do you remember the last definition of soaking, “to extract or remove by soaking, to remove something by immersing it for a period of time?” Jesus forgave her sins, it was not by extreme overcompensation of good works, but this simple act of love and adoration! This act of soaking in the Presence of the Lord, this immersion for a period of time! Maybe instead of running from the Lord and beating ourselves up in shame and condemnation, we could just sit at his feet, and allow him to so beautifully and gently wash us with the Power of His Word? Do you remember the woman who sat at Jesus feet, immersed and saturated by the words he spoke to her? Mary, the sister of Martha…
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12: 1-8
No wonder Martha was a little put out with her sister Mary, after all Mary was probably the shame of their family, while Martha was always doing the right things and probably lived an exemplary life. The reason why Judas was upset by her expensive gift for Jesus was that he was a thief and used to taking a portion of the proceeds and pocketing them, skimming off a portion for himself. He withheld his gift toward Jesus, will you? Or will you be like Mary and lavish him with your expensive, costly worship that produces such a fragrance that fills the room and the nostrils of He who is worthy to receive it all! Worthy is the Lamb who was slain for us! Jesus would not ask more of us than what he willingly gave us through his death on a cruel cross! And where he was left all alone, he will not leave us nor forsake us in our dying times of sacrifice! What a savior!
Soaking in this instance, relates to the death of our Lord, and relates to our preparation for the death to self, our own agendas, our own will, our own sin and sinful ways, taking up our cross and following as Jesus led the way. It also emphasizes the purity, the breaking in order for the fragrance to be released, and as that fragrant worship is released, it not only honors and lavishes the Lord, but it releases a fragrance that permeates the room, immersing everyone, as that incense transcends our earthly realm and is received in Heaven! I also love that this woman’s testimony is recorded in all four gospels and stands for all eternity! What is your testimony that crosses over into eternity?
Just in case you were wondering why I share so much scripture when I teach, the Lord spoke to my heart when I was writing my first book, “Leave my Word alone! There is much Glory within it!” May you bask in the Glory of his Word!
A Living Sacrifice
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
Soaking prepares us for our offering of ourselves as a living sacrifice unto the Lord, but it also allows our minds to be saturated in His Presence, allowing the Word of God to transform our minds, our thoughts, our soulish ideas, so that we know what His Perfect will is for us! As a musician, I understand most musicians, worship leaders, and singers spend most of our time learning how to sing properly, to memorize the words and inflections of phrases, and how to be technically proficient with our instrument. As is my experience and many others, we don’t necessarily spend enough time in His Word! I encourage you to delve into His Word more, eat of it, and savor its changing properties within you!
One more aspect of soaking as relating to worship and why we should consider soaking as part of our worship experience is revealed in the story of Esther. I will not recount her entire story but just relevant scripture here.
8 When the king’s order and edict had been proclaimed, many young women were brought to the citadel of Susaand put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king’s palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. 9 She pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven female attendants selected from the king’s palace and moved her and her attendants into the best place in the harem.
10 Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11 Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.
12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.
15 When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her. 16 She was taken to King Xerxes in the royal residence in the tenth month, the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17 Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. 18 And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality. Esther 2: 8-18
Esther was already gifted by beauty, but she obeyed and submitted to her authorities’ instructions, thereby gaining additional favor. In her prescribed 12 months of beauty treatments, Esther was soaked, bathed, immersed in the oils of myrrh (relating to the oils of the Holy Spirit) and then six months of perfumes and as the King James Version records, these were days of purification. Esther humbled herself and won the favor of everyone including the King. These months of soaking prepared her for her entrance with the King! If we would dress in our absolute best to be presented to an earthly king or queen, how much more should we be prepared to be presented to the King of Heaven, the King of Kings? Just a thought for you to consider….
We have hosted monthly soaking worship nights since 2006, where anyone regardless of their church denomination or affiliation, race, position, etc. can come and be immersed in the Living Waters of fragrant worship. Please join us at one of these, you may come one way, but you will leave changed, refreshed, saturated, and immersed by His Fragrance! Check our calendar on Facebook/Bride Song Ministries, page or group, or at our ministry website at www.bridesongministries.org
See you in the Throne Room,
Dr. Raelynn S. Parkin
Bride Song Ministries / Worship Houston