Salted Watermelon, Wrong Monograms, and Different Versions of the Same Story


Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. John 12:3 NLT

My momma said she didn’t know why I liked my watermelon with salt on it. I thought it was our family thing… “Lord, no. I don’t know where you got that.”

I dig around in my memory and realize whenever watermelon was involved, it came through the backyard balanced on the shoulder of Woodrow Bolding and was promptly placed in the pool to chill (that tells you a little bit about the temperature of that water). Later it was sliced length-wise into wedges and if you wanted, there were knives to cut your slice into little cubes of red juicy goodness and the tin salt shaker. 

It isn’t the first time my version of the story has found conflict with my momma’s version.

My cousin Lynn is a master at monogramming. It is her thing. That and smocking little girls’ dresses. And she has monogrammed a fluffy white beach towel with hot pink initials for me. I hold it in my hands. There is a big beautiful M in the center, with a flowing ‘G’ on the left, and a flourished ‘T’ on the right. Lynn notices me inspecting it; “Georgia, I called your mother to make sure I had your initials right,” she says by way of reassurance. I smile at her and nod. After all, it is a beautiful gift that she has made especially for me.

The next time I see my Momma, I can’t help but bring it up. “Momma. Lynn tells me she called you the other week to make sure she had my initials right.” “Mmm-hmm.” She doesn’t look at me. I continue. “And she said you said my last name is Mathews.” “Mmm-hmm.” Me: “Momma!” Her: “Well…” 

I just look at her, waiting for her to acknowledge what she knows to be the truth. She continues to only respond with one word. “Well…” And it finally dawns on me. “Are you afraid since I didn’t take Jeff’s last name people will think we aren’t married?” “Well… yes.” I had been married to the man at this point about 20 years.

Much later I told Lynn, my own cousin, what my name really is. She offered to rework the monogram. I like it the way it is. It hangs in my guest bathroom. I like to be reminded there can be very different versions of the same story.


I find it crazy interesting that God decided we didn’t need one version of the story of Jesus, His son, coming down to live for a while on planet earth. He recorded for us lots of different eye-witness accounts. Matthew, the Tax-collector who became one of the twelve, wrote about Jesus from a very Jewish, very exact point of view, keeper of accounts that he was. 

Mark came along, and probably got most of his information from Peter. Mark possibly was the young man who lost his linen garment in the Garden when Jesus was arrested. He was young and liked to hang out with the older guys in the inner circle. 

Luke didn’t show up until after the death of Jesus, but he investigated and interviewed many eye-witness accounts, including probably Mary the mother of Jesus. Luke was well educated, likely a physician, possibly Greek, and he loved to include stories from the women’s point of view. 

And then there is John. John, beloved disciple of Jesus, who wrote of love and the smell of the fragrance in the room when the perfume bottle was broken to anoint the feet of Jesus. John, who heard the most private of conversations, and saw the light of God fill Jesus on the mountaintop. John, whom Jesus entrusted his own mother to as he spoke his last words on the cross. John, who knew the smallest details of the burial of Jesus – and ran at dawn to find the tomb empty.

You may have a version of this same story. It is one of the best things about the story: if you have met him, whether riding tall, knocked off your horse and blinded by the light, or alone and shamed by the neighbors around you, you know for yourself that Jesus tends to still show up and tell yet another version of His story. 

What’s your version?

Note: All four gospels tell four different versions of this story. Check them out: John 12:1-8,  Matthew 26:6-13Mark 14:3-9, and Luke 7:36-50) I love the different details!

“You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.” Luke 7:45-46

 “She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Mathew 26:13

Insight on the writers of the Gospels;  by Chuck Swindoll  by Liz Kanoy

New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.