An Amazing Fact: The original biblical town of Bethany, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, is believed to have been situated on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives, less than two miles from Jerusalem. Historians believe the town was the site of an almshouse for the poor. Its name is derived from words in at least two languages that mean “house of the poor” or “house of poverty.”
According to the Bible, Martha welcomed Jesus and His disciples into her house. That apparently launched her into a frenzy of activity. She probably felt a little overwhelmed at having to prepare food and accommodations for all those men. Under the stress of the moment, she accused her sister, Mary, of leaving her to serve alone.
Unlike the “distracted” Martha, Mary realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime. The Messiah, the very Son of God, had come to her house to visit. She could sit at his feet and listen to soul-rousing truths that she had never heard before, at least not the way Jesus told them.
As Jesus made clear to the sisters, while there’s nothing wrong with serving, there is something more vital. What Martha needed, we all need—more attention to the things of God, the things that last forever. We need to sit at the feet of Jesus and treasure His every word.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS