Although I was accustomed to frequent humiliation, I never got used to the daily beatings. I knew everyone expected me to marry, but I couldn’t stand the thought of living like this forever. My mother and I often paid in bruises for failing to meet my father’s unreasonable demands. Mother never complained, but told me this was the price of being a woman, since we alone have the privilege of bearing children. Still unmarried at age twenty, my parents disowned me. I was a disgrace.
The only way I could support myself was through prostitution. Not a profession I was proud of, but it was better than being married! I had two daughters. I didn’t know who their fathers were, but at least they weren’t here to beat them.
I was trapped. I couldn’t leave my profession, even if I wanted to. I knew it was a matter of time before I was caught and stoned. Many of my customers were Pharisees. Some had high positions in the Sanhedrin. The authorities knew all about me.
I often wondered why I hadn’t yet been prosecuted. It may have been because everyone was focused on this Jesus character. He was famous in all of Israel because He was some kind of miracle worker. I wished He could do a miracle in my life. I’m too lousy and no good for that, though. I deserved this life.
Then one day it happened. I was set up, and thrown before this Jesus. I had been caught by the Pharisees with one of their own. Yet only I was dragged away and thrown at Jesus’ feet. In fact, my customer had joined the procession and demanded my stoning along with the rest of the crowd.
I knew I had no defense. As I looked up at Him through tear-filled eyes, I was shocked with the look of pain I saw on His face, in the midst of the mob’s gleeful triumph.
Although His eyes were gentle and compassionate, there was a strange piercing quality about them, as if He could see right through me. Although I was intrigued, my shame forced me to look at the ground. I then saw His fingers writing in the dirt in front of me. I glanced at Him again, quickly, only this time, I thought I saw a flash of anger, as His gaze shifted between His writing and the mob.
He then stood up, and to my amazement, said, “Whoever hasn’t sinned may throw the first stone.” What? Was it possible that He knew their sins? Did He know some of them were my customers?
There was silence, interrupted only by the occasional sound of diminishing footsteps. Finally, Jesus gently pulled me up by both hands, then lifted my chin, forcing me to look into His eyes. “Where are they? Don’t any of them condemn you?” he asked.
I turned around. They were all gone! I could barely speak. Was this man without sin? Would he stone me single-handedly? “No, Sir,” I whispered.
He gently caressed my face, catching the tear that had just fallen. He kissed my forehead and said, “Then I don’t condemn you either. Now go home, and don’t sin anymore, okay?”
I moved my lips to speak, but nothing came out. Never before had I experienced such tenderness from a man. I didn’t know how I would support myself after that, but I knew I could never go back to prostitution.
That was many years ago. I’ve come to understand so much about the forgiveness of Jesus, and I realize that I am blessed more than most. I experienced a foretaste of His love and forgiveness , before He had died on the cross, right in my hour of need.
My daughters married Christian men who love them and do not beat them. I also married a Christian man who had Himself been forgiven much. Jesus had changed my life.
Now, my husband having gone before me, I stand alone, surrounded again by a crowd of angry accusers. But this time, it is a blessing. As I face the first of the stones, I fall to my knees thanking God for this blessed opportunity to give my life for the One who spared mine. Yes, I am blessed more than most!