There was a woman caught in sin. For sure that was not her first time committing adultery, because the religious leaders knew where to find her to test and trap Jesus with her situation.
So, on the scene there is this woman, a breaker of the Law, condemned to death by stoning as was the Jewish tradition. We don’t know what caused her to lead this kind of life, but for sure it was a miserable life. She could never count herself equal to other women; she couldn’t look them in the eye because she was in part, responsible for their pain. She could only be the judge of her own emptiness, disgust and pain. Maybe she didn’t fear death so much because she didn’t have much to lose.
There are respected Jewish teachers and leaders, keepers of the law of God. They reminded Jesus that the price for sin is death. That’s what the woman deserved, before men and God alike.
And there is sinless Jesus, the giver of the Law.
I opened the Bible and started reading from John 8.
“6 …But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he strengthened up and said to them. ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’
8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her. ‘Woman, where are they! Has no one condemned you?’
11 ’No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (NIV)
“Jesus wrote the sins of men condemning the woman, didn’t he? No one is deserving or worthy of God’s favour in his own right,” mum commented.
“He wrote the sins of people in dirt, which the wind could easily blow away or steps could erase. We mark sin with stones, but not God. He forgave the woman; he freed her. I’m sure that that was the happiest day of her life.
He wants to free me as well. He wants to forgive my sins.” With a nod I approved mum’s comments. Mum asked me to pray with her. She said a wonderful prayer of a repentant and a forgiven sinner. Her face and eyes brightened up and she looked happy.
10. SENSING GOD’S LOVE
The next couple of days went by extremely fast. Slowly mum started regaining her strength. Some of our relatives and friends came to visit her. I observed how she tried to be positive and not to pity herself.
Mum wanted me to read more stories about how Jesus dealt with the sins of people. One of her favourites was Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well. She felt as thought she was able to understand the woman fully:
“We all have things we keep to ourselves. Some things we try to hide, but the hardest thing is we can’t hide anything from ourselves. We run away from people, but we can’t run away from ourselves. We are our own prisoners.”
I explained to mum the predicament of the Samaritan woman. For the Jews Samaritans were second-class people. Women were not equal to men. Furthermore, this was a sinful woman.
“For Jesus there are no outcasts, are there? He meets a man where he is and who he is without prejudice. That’s how God is.” Mum sensed fairness and the love of God manifested in Jesus.
We read the story and read it again because the conversation there was so interesting for mum. John 4:7-14:
“7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?’...
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, ’You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’
10 Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.’…
13 ’Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (NIV)
Mum liked that Jesus asked the woman for some water. Above our yard there are vineyards. In summer months when people work there, they come to ask to fetch water from our well. It is always a nice sight to see people quenching their thirst with fresh and cool water.
“Imagine, Jesus asking me for water? Hm. He’s offering us living water now, isn’t He? He is not focused on our sins; He’s focused on us taking His offer of eternal life,” the story left mum in deep thought for the night.