“My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.”
Song of Songs 1:14
En Gedi is a place of ancient human habitation, a place of refreshment for human and animals. It is a spring of fresh water in a dry land and plants and animals can find growth and pasture there. It’s history stretches back to Old Testament times, and archeology has found pre-history artefacts there.
Kind David found refuge in En Gedi and it was a place where he could hide out and find asylum from foes. There are vineyards there, because the water is sweet. Grapes grow in the heat and sun and refreshment of the waters of the ancient springs. The waters will make other salt waters sweet also, as they encroach on the saline sea waters.
Henna grows there among many herbs and spices. Henna is for beauty and gives radiance to skin and hair and often used for decorative purposes on the skin. A bunch of henna is a valuable commodity and it blossoms only every few years so to have a bunch of it gives such a pleasing aroma and echoes the value of her Beloved.
The theme of smell is very strong in this first chapter of this amazing book and the aroma acts as an aphrodisiac to the woman who receives these flowers to remind her of her lover. Her beloved is the embodiment of this aroma from the heavenly scent of the Henna flowers.
The beauty of the beloved it is a refreshment to her like the springs of En Gedi. The whiff of the aroma from the Henna flowers, reminds her of who he is, and of his beauty, giving meaning to her deep love for him. She longs to be with him in the springs of refreshment for ever and ever. Perhaps she also remembers the heady smell of the flowers in the vineyard as the grapes develop and as they mature and become ready to make the wine, the heady wine of the everlasting kingdom.
“You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard…”
Song of Songs 4:12-13
The fragrance of the love of these two is overwhelming. It is a locked garden waiting to spring open and bestow beauty on all around. Aroma is encased everywhere, waiting to be released, like the alabaster jar of the Beloved Mary, as she anointed her truly Beloved. She anointed her Lord, out of love for Him and what He had done for her. She was a forgiven woman and she knew it, and showed it to others that day in the house on Simon the Pharisee. The scent of that perfume filled the whole house. Other guests were incensed. They regarded it as a waste of money, time and their pleasure. Jesus commended Mary for her gift of such love, telling the scoffers that she loved Him, more because she has been forgiven everything. The power of her love was dependant on Him, because she depended on Him, and was now expressing that love.
Smell is such a powerful sense that we sometimes overlook. The prayers of the saints in heaven are portrayed as incense from censors that ever reach the throne of God. So this “prayer” from Mary was a sweet smelling savour that rose to heaven in testimony of her devotion. Her stance was contrition. She was kneeling on the floor at the feet of her Lord, in complete confidence that he would never hurt her or use her resources wrongfully. The sign went up to heaven and the angels wondered at her, and Him.
The other guests couldn’t understand. They had never been to that place, that cruel and rough place of the cross. This place is how we understand grace, mercy, love and the power of sacrifice. Grace is all-sufficient and grace will, lead us, always, the right way.
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace .” …
Our Lord Jesus should be so precious to us, that we will give up everything, just to be in His presence and serve Him. He will be that sweet to us, that close, closer than our skin. We will anoint Him, honour Him and put everything on the altar of God, counting everything a loss, compared to knowing Him, who we love.
“But whatever was gain to me I count as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith.
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Philippians 3:7-11 BSB
His aroma will infiltrate our lives and we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and adore forever. We will end up like Him! We will want that and seek it earnestly. This is how we attain heaven, through faith and hope in the living Lord Jesus. Everything is as rubbish compared to Him, and He will cleanse us and I put His righteousness to us, so that we really live. Live to God with all our hearts, and bring Him, praise, joy, and enjoyment as He watches us and sees the fruit of that dreadful experience on the cross at Calvary.