The door flies open and you scream as hands grab and pull and carry you out, naked and condemned. They shout about caught in the act, stonings, about laws and condemnation and you didn’t even want to be here.
But what right does a woman have to say no.
You grab the bed sheet on the floor to cover your shame. You scream, you bite, you twist around to see where he has been carried off to.
But he is standing in the room, getting smaller as you are hurried away, slowly dressing himself and hoping his wife has not heard the commotion.
There is no justice for a woman in this world.
They are taking you to the temple. You know what will come next, you’ve even thrown a stone before at a woman in your same position. Because even in a world where the men make all the rules, women throw stones at each other.
They are whispering about a man you don’t know, a man they can trick. They hope he will break the law and can be condemned by your side. You secretly begin to pray that they will condemn him and forget you. That he could perhaps, somehow, take the punishment instead of you.
They ask him what they should do. You don’t understand their trick, don’t even look at the Rabbi. Tears roll down your face and drop to the ground as you stare mutely at his feet.
He sees your eyes, sees their path. He bends down, touches his finger to the dust exactly where you watch, drawing in the dirt, drawing for you.
They insist louder. They need an answer, they will not tolerate silence from a man. Your silence is expected, your condemnation sure without a defense.
This man, he seems to have peace. And despite several minutes bent and drawing in the sand, he has not picked up a stone.
He meets your gaze and does not look away as he slowly stands. You hold your breath, unblinking, all of your fears and hopes caught in this shared look.
“All right,” he says.
Your breath releases. He is no different, he is not tricked. Unconsciously, you lift your arms to block your face as your accusers draw back their stones.
“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
You close your eyes and brace for pain. He bends, perhaps to pick up a stone. You know the Pharisees, know the Rabbis. They certainly don’t sin like this. The stones will come at any moment.
Instead, you hear the slow shuffle of feet, the whispers of the ancients’ prayers as they slowly fade in the distance. Slowly you lower your arms, relax your muscles. You peek one eye open: he is drawing again. He hasn’t picked up a stone, though perhaps he could have. He who is without sin.
He catches your eye and motions you to look around.
He smile. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
Your legs are shaking as you lift your head and see the miracle of mercy. You drop to your knees. “No one, Lord.”
“Then neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
May we be women who bring our condemnation to the feet of Jesus, even if we must be dragged there. May we be women who pray that he could perhaps, somehow, take the punishment instead of us. May we drop to our knees in worship of him who is without sin. And may we strive to live out both halves of his command: to no longer be condemned and to go and sin no more.
This post is a part of my Lenten series called “The Women of Lent”. For an explanation of the series and to see the past posts, check out the posts in the category “Women of Lent“. Also don’t forget to enter my free GIVEAWAY and check out my featured sellers. Giveaway is going on until April 8, 2014.