Neither Do I
by Joan Costner
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~ Neither Do I ~
St. John, Chapter 8
It was early morning as I lay, thankful for a bed. What it had cost me didnít matter. I had a little food, a blanket. "Caring for me" was a mockery, I knew.
I never planned to live this way. Things happen. Sometimes, it seems to me, we are not in control. Maybe, I could rest here, a day.
The man, beside me, stirred. He didnít touch me, now.
I heard some steps, many feet, outside on the cobblestones ~ muffled voices.
Suddenly, the door flew open and there were people (men), everywhere. I pulled the covers up, around my shoulders, and sat up.
They were shouting, now, and hands were reaching for me. They didn't reach for him ~ just me. He did nothing to stop them. Jerking me, hurting me, not even allowing me to dress! These men were the high religious men from the Sanhedrin court! They pulled me to the door and down the street. They were headed for the temple!
I knew the law. I knew my life was over. I wondered how it would feel to be stoned to death. I had thought of it before. Maybe a stone to my head would render me unconscious and I wouldnít have to endure all the pain and suffering of death.
They pushed me, roughly, into the temple; where people gawked and stared, and drew their breath back in a gasp. I held the covers to me, wrapping them around my body as tightly as I could. They pushed me down into the courtyard dust.
I didnít resist. I just fell harder. At last, this terrible trial called "life" was over. But, what then? Hades? Hell? I had no hope. I just surrendered.
"Master!" A tall man turned. "Master, look here!"
Yesterday, a number of the Temple police had been sent out to arrest this "Master", Jesus. When they came back, empty handed (although they plainly saw and heard Him in the temple teaching), the Chief Priest and high authorities asked why.
"Never, did a man speak like this!" they declared.
They had been held in awe, listening to the discussion of Who He was. They watched the results, as some believed and some did not. Some wanted Him arrested. But, NO ONE touched him.
Back this morning, He had already gone apart for prayer and joined them in discussing the scriptures.
Now, this Great Teacher, Whom some thought was John the Baptist re-incarnated, was looking at me. There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to run to, and I had heard John at the Jordan; that wild man, screaming, "Repent, repent," to everyone ~ even Herod.
This man, Whomever He was, held my fate. I understood, but did not understand how.
There was much gossip about Him. About miracles He had done, people he had fed.
This crowd was hungry too, for my death! I looked at the men. Some I had seen before in a different setting. They stood towering over me now. I could almost read their minds ~ lust is easy to see.
"We caught her in the very act of adultery! What shall we do with her?"
I expected screams of, "Stone her! Stone her!" But, there was silence. The whole roomís gaze was on Jesus ... as if more than just my life depended on His answer.
"Moses law says ..."
"It is written ..."
"Teacher, what do YOU say?"
As Jesus turned to the crowd. I pulled the blanket even closer and doubled myself up, as small as I could.
Jesus was not looking at me. He was looking, not at the crowd but, at the temple police and the Priests, and Pharisees. He glanced Heavenward. Then, I saw Him look, intently, at the religious elite. He stooped down and made marks on the ground.
They pressed him, ploying Him for an answer. I could not see what marks were on the ground.
"Moses! Our great law giver ~ he said ..." but Jesus interrupted.
"Then, stone her! But ... let the one with no sin cast the first stone!"
He bent down, again. With His finger, he began a line. I couldnít tell if He was drawing or, maybe, writing. But, they were all interested. They stepped closer. He continued.
They, each, passed by and read what He wrote in the sand. There was a certain look, that crossed each face, as they saw what was in the sand. What could He be writing? Their name? Their sin? It grew very still.
Iím not saying there was peace. For, they were disturbed. The oldest of the group stepped up to Jesus, Who keep writing. He just turned and slipped away. One by one, according to their age, they stepped up, looked at the dust, and slipped away!
I was weeping; (fear having had itís way with me.) Then, I heard a voice like no other, "Woman, where are your accusers?" I looked up ... His eyes! Mercy written all over His tender face! Mercy for me! The tears were flooding my face. "Doth no man condemn thee?"
I dropped my eyes, my head, "No man, sir".
"Neither do I. Go, and sin no more."
How could a man like this, so pure and holy, find mercy for me? How could He gain authority over the Chief priests and Pharisees? How could simple words, written in the dust of the court yard, bring silence to these accusers?
Hope began to rise in my heart! I stood and clutched my covering. My bare feet carried me to my abode, where I fell on my knees; begging forgiveness, begging help from Jehovah.
I bathed and dressed, combed my hair ~ washed my face.
Then, I deliberately turned my steps toward the temple myself.
Perhaps, He was still there! Perhaps, I could listen and learn. Perhaps, I could do some small task for Him!
As I entered the temple, I heard the sweetest voice saying, "I am the Light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness ... Living Light will flood your path!"
I fastened my eyes upon this Son of God. He looked up. His blue eyes met mine. The mercy still shone through!
© 2004 by Joan Clifton Costner
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