At least 2,000 people have made pilgrimage to northern Israel in the past week to see a statue of the Virgin Mary that locals say “weeps” oil.
The Associated Press reported that the family in whose living room the statue sits is calling it a miracle.
Christian worshipers gather next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, that residents say "weeps" oil, inside an apartment belonging to the Khoury family, in Tarshiha, a small town in northern Israel, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. The family says it is most striking when a "tear" seems to roll down the statue's cheek. It says some 2,000 people have come to see the statue over the last week. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Osama Khoury, an Israeli Christian from the small town of Tarshiha near the border with Lebanon, told the AP on Tuesday that his wife Amira recently found the statue “covered with oil.”
Amira said the statue "spoke to her" and told her not to be afraid.
Britain’s Sky News reported that the family bought the statue last year, but only recently noticed that it was “weeping.”
"My wife came closer to the statue and found it was covered with oil," Osama Khoury said. "She then wiped the oil, she was scared. She called our neighbor and told her to come and see what she saw.”
Christian worshipers pray next to a statue of the Virgin Mary, that residents say "weeps" oil, inside an apartment belonging to the Khoury family in northern Israel (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
"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," Khoury said.
An AP reporter wrote, “Parts of the statue appear to be slick with moisture, even after it is wiped off.”
The Khoury family says the image is most striking when a "tear" appears to roll down the Virgin Mary statue’s cheek
After the neighbor saw it, word of the phenomenon quickly spread within the village and then outside, with some 2,000 reportedly having paid a visit in just the past week.
Amira Khoury said the statue has encouraged her to pray more.
"I felt a strange feeling that something was pulling me to pray," she said.
Watch this AP video of a prayer service next to the statue: