I never really knew. I guess I just never really knew. (I probably still don’t.)
What it would have been like to be her – her darkest, most secret sins laid bare for the world to see. They may as well have stripped her clothes, or splayed her ribs open.
“They made her stand before the group…”
“ ‘In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.’ ”
Whatever would happen, it couldn’t be worse than this heaviness. As if her heart had turned to lead. The nausea. Unable to raise her head, she stares at the dirt.
“End it now. Just end it.”
The hateful voices asserting their disgust swell to a roar, deafening her ears, until they meld to a muffle of noise. As she stands there, she embraces a numbness that distances herself from them. She continues to stare into the grains of dirt. She will be one with the ground. Soon.
Startling her daze, a finger crosses her line of vision. Someone is before her, writing in the dirt. She shifts her gaze up and sideways, just enough to view Him. Her eyebrows twitch, and her head does a small shake, before dropping again.
“Come on. Let’s get this over with al-”
“Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” Interrupting her thought and cutting the din in her ears, His voice is suddenly booming. He is standing now, in front of her. Looking up quickly, she sees His straightened back. His feet are planted, His arms set apart slightly from His sides. He appears immovable. The demands and taunts of the crowd grow quieter, like a fading wind.
Her breath catches. Her heart beats heavily upon her chest. Her eyes are still on His back, and the sounds of her accusers have dissipated.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Releasing them from His piercing gaze, He stoops to the earth again. It doesn’t look like He plans to leave.
The crowd, however, shifts uneasily on their feet. They glance around at each other. A few of them walk off, slowly. Some shake their heads, or frown. One looks at her and remembers something. His eyes become windows, for a moment. Exhaling, he turns and slumps away, looking down.
As she watches in shock, the weakened crowd retreats, one by one. With the exit of each person, her incredulity grows. The Man is still writing with His finger in the dirt that she had expected to, by now, be soaked with her blood. She pants heavily, and notices a smile playing quietly upon the corners of His mouth. Without moving His head, He eyes the bystanders who are left. Disarmed, they slink reluctantly away, glancing back over their shoulders, as if searching for a way to regain their footing.
It is silent for a moment as Jesus stops writing and leans back on His heels, watching them depart. When He stands and turns to face her, His smile is fully grown. Softly, now, He speaks to her:
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Liquid gathers in his lower eyelids.
Her heart still pounding, she glances beyond His shoulder. Seeing only a smattering of dents in the ground where they had once stood, she stutters hurriedly,
“N-n-no-one, sir.” Her voice is hoarse, but within her, the exhilaration of hope rises. Like a point of light, expanding, and overtaking.
Unexpectedly and gruffly, a laugh bursts from her mouth. When she draws her breath in again, it becomes a sob.
“Then neither do I condemn you.” Still smiling, He drops His eyes to her feet and lays a hand on the back of her arm. Stepping to her closely, she feels His breath on her ear.
“Go now. And leave your life of sin.”
(Adapted from John 8:1-11)
This post was first published on April 18, 2019, at my first blog – Little Moment Meditations
Happy Easter everyone!