“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
A hush fell over the crowd as several Pharisees dragged a frightened woman into the temple court. The men forced the woman to her knees in front of the crowd. Jesus winced at her whimpers of humiliation. Then, without a sound he stooped to the ground and wrote in the dust with his finger. The strange response of the teacher baffled the crowd and they began to murmur, “What is he doing?”
People waited for his answer. Some of them deftly tossed rocks into the air to see if the weight was enough for a stoning. Then they stood poised and ready to judge the woman for her sin of adultery.
The Pharisees impatiently demanded an answer from Jesus. “Teacher, what do you say?”
Jesus stood and faced the crowd. “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
A sudden sense of unease swept through the court. One by one, the woman's accusers dropped their stones and walked away. Before long, only Jesus and the woman remained.
Jesus helped her stand. “Woman, where are your accusers? Did even one of them condemn you?”
The woman looked around the empty court. Fear faded with a whisper, "No, Lord.”
His heart overflowed with joy, “Neither do I, Go and sin no more.”
Fully forgiven the woman walked away, leaving her shame behind.
Jesus examined the ground. “Thank you Father for teachable moments,” he prayed as the list of sins he had etched in the dust disappeared with the wind.
*Adapted from John 8:1-11.
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