What word could be used to describe a glowing object or mass that though it has a quality of brilliance, does not throw light to illume anything? Say, "The mysterious ball ____ with a self-contained light." or of a city that though full of lights and vividness cannot extend its glow past the darkness of night?
May carry a connotation of faintness that you don't intend>
You might consider, shimmer
A subdued, tremulous light or gleam.
Try illuminates "to supply or brighten with light; light up." http://www.dictionary.com/browse/illuminate http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/illuminate