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Caught in the Act – An interpretation of John 8

It was hot, though the sun had barely risen. But then there is no letting up from the cruel sun in the Middle East.

There was already a buzz in the market place, many out before the temperature reached the forties. 

The commotion attracted the attention of the passers-by, who would have looked for some new gossip story to liven up life’s slow pace in this part of the world.

As she looked over the heads of those who had gotten there first, she saw a woman, a couple of years younger than herself, stark naked, huddled at the feet of a man she didn’t recognize. 

The woman tried to cover herself with her hands, but there was nowhere to hide from her accusers, who were also taking every opportunity to view her aging but still beautiful body. Seemed hypocritical to say the least.

“This woman was caught in adultery, in the very act,” were the loveless words coming from a tall man, who appeared to be the leader of this band of religious men who had dragged her here. “Our law says she is to be stoned. What do you say?”

Her mind drifted from the commotion in the marketplace to a time a few years earlier when she, herself had erred. She thought about how her marriage had left the highway and found itself on the bumpy gravel road. She thought about the work colleague who had shown her compassion, understanding. She knew all along that an affair was wrong, but she was so drawn to him, the gentleness and kindness she desperately craved. 

She had had no intention of cheating on her husband but as things got worse at home, she found herself so drawn to this man and after a couple of glasses of wine, she had played out in reality what she had so many times dreamed of. But then there was the guilt! The feelings of betrayal! Not only her husband but also her children. She had gotten out after only one encounter, but what about this poor woman. Maybe the circumstances were similiar, maybe she too had children. She knew what was ahead of this woman and as the tears streamed down her face she thought about her children, soon to lose their Mom.

Back to reality with a bang! But this was not what she expected. The band of religious nuts were leaving, one by one, the older ones, she could see had left first. Then she noticed the man she did not know. He too was stooped – writing something in the sand. She could not see what he had written, though it was powerful enough to challenge the challengers.

She backed off a few paces as the crowd was thinning fast. The last thing she wanted was to be in the limelight. There was still a chance she may be found out. She was almost out of earshot now, but she stopped flat in her tracks. The man finally spoke and his gentle tone got her attention, “Where are your accusers, woman? Is anyone judging you now?”

“No one, Lord!” was the stammered reply.

“Neither do I, but go and sin no more!”

Five minutes before, she would not have traded places with that woman for any price. Now she would have given everything! The man had taken his robe and covered her nakedness, but she sensed that that was only symbolic of what had happened in the woman’s heart.

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