Hundreds of worshipers are flocking to a small town in Israel where a Christian family claims to have found a statue of the Virgin Mary that spoke to them and weeps oil.
The family, Osama and Amira Khoury of Tarshiha, a small town near the Lebanon border, have allowed worshipers to view the statue that sits behind a glass partition in their apartment. Oil occasionally emerges from the Virgin Mary's eyes, and some parts of the statue appear to be covered in a shine even after oil is wiped away.
Amira Khoury has told media outlets that she recently found the statue "covered in oil," and that the small figure "spoke to her," telling her to not be afraid. A neighbor of the couple was the first to discover a small tear of oil dripping from the Virgin Mary's eye. Reportedly 2,000 curious worshipers have traveled to the couple's apartment to see the statue, and photos online show the couple engaging in prayer around the Virgin Mary, who is draped in rosary beads.
"My wife [Amira] came closer to the statue and found it was covered with oil," husband Osama told Sky News in a recent interview.
"She then wiped the oil, she was scared. She called our neighbor and told her to come and see what she saw," he continued. "The neighbor came and looked at it and found that it was real oil, and then she held my wife's hands and told her not to be afraid, that it was a blessing that had come into your house," he added.
Additionally, Amira said that seeing the statue weeping gave her the urge to pray. "I felt a strange feeling that something was pulling me to pray," the woman of the house said.
There have been other unique sightings of the Virgin Mary, as seen in West New York, N.J., where a passerby claimed in July 2012 that a knot in a tree resembled the Virgin Mary. The tree received much criticism after it was revealed that it cost $1,000 a day of taxpayer money to protect the attraction from vandalism, and some decried the tree as a form of idolatry. Nearly a year later in July 2013, the tree was found burned and the image of the Virgin Mary had disappeared.