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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fame (05/10/12)

TITLE: Matter of the Heart
By Ruth Neilson


Angry voices filled the air, pelting her with accusations.

"A whore."
"Shame upon your family."
"Death to the adulterer!"

She clung to the scrap of cloth that was within her grasp when the door was opened, revealing her and her lover in their passionate embrace.

She stumbled, causing the cobble stones tearing into her knees and palms, but her accusers didn't slow their pace. She tried to hold onto her shawl, desperate to maintain some form of modesty and dignity. Not that there was any left for her. Her lover had fled and no one bothered to give him chase. The Pharisees had enough with her.

Promises of fame and fortune lured her to her lover's bed without thought of the consequences. She wasn't sure what to expect and never expected a trap, but here she was.

Another voice soared over the crowd. "Stone her!"

Her shame was going to live on, a blot in her family's name. Infamy that maybe one day her distant relations might be able overcome. But she wasn't even going to live to see another day.

Her shawl was stolen away from the press of bodies. The mob moved closer to the temple courts, each step bringing her nearer to her fate.

The rising sun caused the temple court to radiate in the Shekinah Glory as the songs of the Levites were drowned out by the bellowed accusations of the Pharisees. Voices splintered into discord as they flung her before a rabbi. She skidded across the ground, her blood leaving a trail behind her form.

"Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"

Silence filled the air as the implications of the question sank in. She was just a pawn in the Pharisee's game!

She dared to look up at the rabbi. He had an amused smile on his face as he knelt down beside her huddled form. He leaned forward and with his finger began to slowly write in the dust. She pressed her face into the ground, waiting for the first blows of her death sentence to occur. The only sound that filled the air was the sound of the rabbi's fingers scratching through the dust. Finally, the rabbi stood and gazed around the men.

"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
The challenge hung in the air. She kept her face pressed to the ground, praying for some form of mercy.

The thuds of stones hitting the ground followed sandaled footsteps fleeing the courts replaced the eerie silence.

Finally, the rabbi spoke, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

"Then neither do I condemn you," The rabbi declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

One of the rabbi's followers, a woman with a kind face, approached her and offered her a well worn tunic. Another woman appeared, a shawl in hand and once she was clothed. Her newly found friends wrapped arms around her shoulders and she limped out of the temple court.
Scriptures from John 8 (NIV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/18/12
Good job with the well known and familiar scripture...I always enjoy a Biblical reference and story.

Thank you. God Bless~
Joe Moreland05/20/12
This was excellent. I love it when a writer successfully brings a story from the bible to life in an authentic and compelling way. You have done that here and it is so well written that it gave me goosebumps as she lay on the ground waiting for the first stone to fly. Wow! You have really spun out this story from the woman's perspective really well.

Thanks for sharing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/21/12
You did a great job of bringing this story alive. It always makes me wonder exactly what Jesus was writing in the dirt. I liked how the other women gathered around her and offered her a sense of protection -- a message that still holds true today.
Graham Insley05/22/12
I love the concept of infamy that led to fame. (Read my entry 'David? Which David?' and you will see that I ain't kidding)

This woman, without even knowing her name, is one of the most famous women of Scripture. Not for the infamy associated with her sin, but rather for the perfect picture of mercy and grace that was painted by her story.

This sentence did not work for me, it seems clumsy and worded wrong; 'The thuds of stones hitting the ground followed sandaled footsteps fleeing the courts replaced the eerie silence.' I thought 'was followed by' or perhaps even 'The eerie silence was followed by...'

But you certainly captured something special here with a graphic picture that brought the story to new life.

Thank you.

lynn gipson 05/22/12
I absolutely loved this and I have always loved this story. "He is without sin, cast the first stone." has always had special meaning to me. I have known many stone casting sinners in my life. Fabulous.....
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/24/12
Congratulations for placing 13th overall!
Janice Quimby05/25/12
I enjoyed this entry. You did a good job showing the mercy of God of sinners. It helped to understand more of what was probably going on with this repentant woman.