I could give you a lot of excuses why I ended up there. My father was abusive. My mother couldn’t care less. I was pretty and men noticed me. The first time I was very nervous and scared, but over time, it got easier and easier. So many faces. So many names. After awhile they all just blended together. Then I met James.
James was a sweet man. His wife didn't understand him. They never do. She was so wrapped up in raising their children. He was being neglected. He needed me. He loved me, or at least that's what he said.
One afternoon when we were together, we heard a crowd gathering outside. I knew that the teacher, Jesus, was in town, so I figured he must be speaking somewhere near. He always drew huge crowds. Suddenly, out of nowhere, men were breaking down the door of my house. I went rigid with fear. James, panicked that he would be discovered, grabbed his clothes and jumped out of the window. So much for that.
I recognized the men as rabbis. Pharisees. They yanked me out of bed and ordered me to get dressed. I threw on my clothes as they dragged me out by my hair and into the street. As I suspected, a crowd had gathered nearby to hear Jesus.
The man holding onto my hair started yelling to Jesus, trying to get his attention. He told Jesus that I was guilty adultery and asked what he believed should happen to me. A thousand eyes drilled into me. My disheveled appearance, my lowered eyes told everyone what they needed to know. They wanted to trap Jesus and I was nothing but bait. I was being used. No one cared about me.
In my mind, I knew the penalty for adultery stoning, but somehow hearing the words said aloud shocked my system to its foundation. I could be killed. All I wanted was love and affection, but now I was going to lose my life. My knees hit the ground and, mercifully, the good rabbi let go of my hair. I hid my face in the dirt.
I could hear something scratching the ground just above my head. I looked up just enough to see Jesus writing something in the dirt with a stick. I didn't dare try to make it out. Then I heard him say, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I just knew my end was near. He was calling for the stones.
For reasons I don't think I'll ever understand, one by one the angry men walked away as did the crowd. After what seemed like an eternity, I managed enough courage to look up. No one was left but Jesus and me. He gave me the sweetest smile I've ever seen. It was the first time a man had looked at me with anything but lust. It made me blush. I looked away.
"Woman, where are your accusers? Who will condemn you?"
I still couldn't make myself look him in the eyes. "No one, sir."
He moved toward me and raised my face gently to his. "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."
Once I managed to look into his eyes, I couldn't tear myself away. I'd heard tell that Jesus might actually be the Messiah and in that instant, I knew that no one else possibly could be. Jesus gave me forgiveness and a fresh start, but more than that, Jesus gave me what no man had ever given me before. He gave me respect.