But my screams fell on deaf ears. I was damned and they did not care what became of me. They dragged me by my hair through the streets of Jerusalem. I writhed in their grasp but the struggle was useless. Besides I had no desire to lose grip on the linen cloth which held my dignity.
What was left of it.
I was caught in adultery. The very act. There was little hope for me.
I could blame him. I could cry rape. But I knew what I was doing. I deserved death.
Their hands threw me to the ground and I shrivelled into a shell. There was a large gathering surrounding me. I sensed their reproach. Judging me. Cursing me.
Could I blame them? Wouldn’t I do the same?
“Teacher,” one of my captors and accusers cried, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.” He paused as the crowd murmured their dissent. “The law of Moses says she should be stoned to death, but what do you say?”
I could not see the man referred to as teacher. But His reputation preceded him.
Now I was ashamed. The weight of my transgression weighed heavy on my heart. I was a disgrace.
He was a holy man, this “Teacher”. Some said He was Messiah, the Son of God. And I lay before him naked, save a linen cloth. Exposed. Beaten. Broken.
I waited. Waited for His condemnation. Waited for Him to affirm my death sentence. Waited for stones to crush my body. Waited for pain and death.
Yet there was silence.
From the corner of my eye I noticed the threads of His tallit as they touched the earth. With one ear pinned to the ground I heard swish, dot, dot, swish, swish. It continued for minutes. The Rabbi was writing in the sand. And as He did it was as if all my days flashed before me. My life weighed – and like King Belshazzar – it was found wanting. Not just my recent indiscretion, but everything.
Silent tears flowed from my heart. Where had I gone wrong? I knew better. I was raised better, yet sin turned me callous and decrepit.
I was startled out of my repentant prayer as Rabbi touched my bare shoulder. I expected rocks piercing my flesh, breaking my skull, rendering me unconscious.
I did not anticipate touch. On the skin of one so vile.
I lifted my eyes. And I saw Him.
I recalled a brighter day. A day in the temple when I was young and free – so different from today. As mother made her way to prayers my attention drifted to an old man. An old man and a baby. The man held the baby with awe, wonder, and worship. I had to see the child. I walked closer, yet hung back, afraid I would interrupt their sacred moment.
Aware of my presence, the old man turned and fixed his gaze on me. He beckoned and I drew closer. He held the baby for me to see with joy and honour.
Looking to the heavens he proclaimed,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Before me on the worst day of my life stood the baby I observed so many years ago. The infant was now a man. As a child I could not comprehend why the old man worshipped a baby. Now I understood it all.
I was broken and betrayed. I was sinful and ashamed.
He was unshaken.
Before Jesus uttered one word, I knew old Simeon’s prophecy was true.
My eyes had seen my Salvation.
My Redeemer. My ransom. My freedom. My life.
And I was made new.
John 8:1-11, Luke 2: 29-32