La Femme Adultère (The Adulterous Woman)
I can’t believe what is happening right now. I mean this whole situation doesn’t make much sense to me, but I was just trying to do my job. I mean who is this guy anyway? We caught this man and woman committing adultery which never happens, so we didn’t really know what to do. Our laws say that both the man and woman are supposed to be put to death, but we haven’t done anything like that since the Romans arrived. When the Pharisees and scribes got here, they were huddled for a while and I’m guessing they didn’t know what to do either. After a while they walked over and told us to let the man go but to follow them with the woman. This wasn’t an instruction we were expecting, but we did as we were told and followed them all the way to the temple.
There was a man there teaching the scriptures who I had never seen before, but we brought the woman to him and the Pharisees said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
That’s when I realized who this man was. It was Jesus. I had heard about him from others in the town, but I didn’t know he was here. I had heard stories of the amazing things he had done. I heard he had fed thousands of people with only two fish and five loaves of bread, and that he healed people as he went around teaching the true word of God. But I also heard that he was a blasphemer claiming to be the son of God. Why would they bring this woman to him? Why wouldn’t they bring the man as well? Was there something I wasn’t seeing here?
Jesus didn’t answer them, but instead bent down and began to write something in the dirt with his finger. I think everyone around was a bit confused at that point, but we stood waiting for a reply. Eventually the Pharisees repeated the question and continued to ask questions until he stood straight up again. He said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Everyone fell silent and looked at one another. What did our sins have to do with this woman’s? We caught her in the middle of the act, we knew she was guilty. Even the woman, her face full of tears seemed confused by his statement. The scary part came when no one moved. I mean I had made some mistakes in the past, nothing that I would’ve been stoned for of course, but I couldn’t say that I was completely without sin. But what about the scribes? The Pharisees? I had expected one of them to step forward and prepare to throw the stone, but they just stood there with blank faces. Jesus bent back down to the ground and once again began to write something in the dirt, and I bent down to see what it was. I couldn’t read it, but that’s when I noticed people had begun to leave.
A crowd had followed us to the temple where there was already a large number of people who had come to hear Jesus teach and they began to leave. At first it was just a few elders who turned to go, and I assumed it was because they wouldn’t want to watch such a thing, but now I think it was because they knew they had all done wrong. One by one people began to walk away, each becoming aware of the sins they had committed and realizing that they had no right to condemn the woman. Many muttered as they left clearly annoyed at how Jesus handled the situation, but others were in complete silence. I mean, doesn’t the scripture call us to forgive each other anyway? I always learned it was up to God to judge us so maybe we weren’t meant to judge any other person on Earth for their sins.
I didn’t know what to do. Eventually even the Pharisees and younger men began to leave so I began to walk away too. I almost felt guilty. I had brought this woman up here to be executed. Who decided that I should have that kind of power over someone else’s life? If Jesus wasn’t here would this woman be dead right now? I believe it was compassion. Jesus had compassion and I don’t know if I do. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have condemned this woman for a mistake that she made, especially since I’ve made my own, but I honestly don’t know. Everyone was pretty much gone at this point, but I was still interested to see what this woman would do. Would she just return to town as if nothing happened? I turned back to look as Jesus was standing up. He turned to the woman and asked, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
I’m assuming this was a rhetorical question as I was the closest person to them, and I was pretty far away. Anyway, she replied that no one had, and he reached out to her and said, “Neither do I. Go now and leave your life of sin.” Just like that. Go now and leave your life of sin. Was that it? Did he really think she wouldn’t sin ever again? Would she? It’s so difficult not to, but after today, how could I? How could I leave here and continue my life as it was before? Could I leave my life of sin? Things felt different now. I could never judge someone again. It wouldn’t be my place to. I just hope that one day someone could show me the same compassion that Jesus showed that woman. If Jesus really is the son of God, then I am proud to be one of his children.